A Mississippi organization is holding workshops to help undocumented immigrants renew their DACA permits. As MPB's Desare Frazier reports the deadline to reapply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is just days away.
October 5, is the deadline for young undocumented immigrants with DACA status to apply to renew their permits. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program allows them to work, go to school or college, without fear of deportation for two years. Last month President Trump announced the phase-out of the program. No new applications are being accepted. But those with permits that expire on or before March 5, of 2018, can reapply with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Twenty-six year old Daniela Gonzalez says she applied to renew her permit in June.
"I did everything that I could every time I had to reapply because it was a chance we didn't have before. But for some people they didn't reapply because they didn't have the money," said Gonzalez.
Attorney Patricia Ice is with Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance. She agrees the $495 fee is a roadblock for some. So, the organization is offering free workshops today and tomorrow at its Jackson office to help young people with the process. Ice says the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the non-profit group Mission Asset Fund are paying the filing fees.
"We're having volunteer attorneys. Everything is free. The Mexican Consulate of New Orleans also plans to be here. They plan to send a representative here," said Ice.
Ice says she doesn't think fear of deportation will keep people from coming to the workshops because they already have a DACA permit. She says people can do the applications themselves. But they often want the help of an attorney. Twenty-four hundred DACA applications were approved from Mississippi, as of September of last year, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.