Recently, a federal judge ruled against the Trump administration’s efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. With this news, many people in the St. Louis area and throughout Missouri are crowdsourcing funds for new DACA applicants, nicknamed “Dreamers.”
Led by groups like the St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA), fundraisers aim to cover the $495 application fee required for certain undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States. These efforts aim to eliminate significant barriers for low-income, younger applicants.
DACA is an immigration reform initiative from the Obama era aimed at restructuring deportation and immigration enforcement efforts away from law-abiding undocumented immigrants. The policy outlines mechanisms for immigrants who came to the United States at a young age to obtain renewable two-year work permits. For undocumented immigrants who came to the United States with their parents and grew up in America, this gives them some leeway in their residency status.
In September 2017, the Trump administration ordered an end to DACA as part of its immigration reform platform. Democratic and Republican resistance to this policy, along with numerous legal battles, stalled the end of the DACA program.
With a U.S. District judge ruling in favor of DACA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will reopen the application process once again. Despite other ongoing lawsuits against the program, recent court victories signal that DACA may live on into the Biden administration.
DACA Application Information
To see the specific requirements and forms to request consideration of deferred action, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website for up-to-date information. Applicants will need to provide proof of identity, education or military involvement, and residency status. Additionally, most applicants must pay an application fee, although certain people may be exempted if they meet specific criteria.
Aid for DACA Application Fees
To aid those who are required to pay the fee, organizations like the IFCLA, Missouri Dreamers, and the Migrant and Immigration Community Action (MICA) Project aim to raise at least $10,000 by the end of 2020 to help cover DACA application costs. Donations are accepted through the IFCLA site, and DACA applicants can contact the organizations for more information about funding their applications.
Challenges in Pursuing DACA Status
So far, more than 3,500 Missourians are already a part of DACA. These new application efforts could help hundreds more secure residency. Unfortunately, there are still various legal obstacles for those pursuing DACA status.
For instance, missing or expired documents can lead to application rejection or delay the consideration of deferred action altogether. Moreover, some specific requirements may be more difficult to prove for undocumented immigrants, leading to additional legal issues. As such, it is important to seek experienced legal assistance for any immigration law battles that may arise.
Legal Assistance for DACA Applications
On the legal end, DACA recipients and applicants should contact a hardworking St. Louis immigration lawyer at the Hacking Law Practice, LLC. Ongoing court battles and potential changes in immigration policy during the Biden Administration may complicate a case or application, so it is essential to work with a well-informed attorney.
Moving forward, Dreamers may have new opportunities to apply for an extended residency, despite specific requirements and a potentially difficult application fee. Thankfully, numerous Missouri citizens, organizations, businesses, and legal advocates are willing to help make the American Dream accessible to all.