U.S. District Judge William Alsup from San Francisco temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, Jan. 9. Here’s what you need to know about resources available for students renewing DACA.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, is accepting renewal applications from eligible DACA recipients immediately. According to Brenda Gomez Vasquez, a refugee rights advocate from the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, or EBSC, USCIS does not have a deadline for DACA, but the opportunity may close soon.
“Currently there is not a deadline to submit the application, but it is thought that the renewal period is very short,” Vasquez said in an email.
Meng So, director of the campus’s Undocumented Student Program, or USP, said in an email that USP has held two DACA renewal clinics in the past week to provide students and their family members immigration legal support throughout the process. So added that USP will cover the $495 application fee for each student and legal appointments are available for booking on the USP website.
USP’s DACA renewal clinics are held in partnership with attorneys and legal aids from the East Bay Community Law Center.
EBSC is also holding several DACA workshops. The next one will take place Saturday, Jan. 27., with two more to follow. According to refugee rights advocate Lily Woo, EBSC will also be covering the application fee for eligible DACA recipients. For a full and updated schedule of workshops and link to register, visit eastbaysanctuary.org
According to its website, USCIS is not accepting new applications from individuals who were not previously DACA recipients, but it is accepting renewal applications from those whose permits have expired since Sept. 5, 2016. Woo said USCIS takes renewal applications as early as six months before their expiration date, but encouraged those with expiration dates later in the year to re-apply as well.
“Technically, for anyone renewing DACA, the earliest you can renew is 180 days in advance — six months,” Woo said. “But we have done many DACAs where we send it in before the six-month mark and they still take it.”
Both Woo and Vasquez recommended students check out the Mission Asset Fund, or MAF, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that provides scholarships to qualified students to cover the application fee. Woo added that MAF will be prioritizing applicants whose DACA permits have expired or are close to expiring.
For detailed information on the renewal process and to view more private and public resources, visit undocu.berkeley.edu/legal-support-overview/what-is-daca/
“We are receiving support from various places and I think that means a lot. But also, let’s not forget or think that we are the only ones being affected by this administration,” Vasquez said in an email. “Our undocumented community should be united as one, not divided into different groups.”