The clock is ticking for DACA recipients who qualify to file a renewal application before the deadline three weeks from now.
So legal aid groups across the state are shifting resources to come to their aid.
Recently the President ended the DACA program, which provides work permits to some undocumented people brought to the U.S. as children.
But the current administration said anyone whose permit expires between now and March 5, 2018 will be allowed to apply for a two-year extension.
Attorney Gabrielle Jones with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, says the federal government is promising to safeguard people’s privacy so they shouldn’t be afraid to apply.
“There was a memo that said that information was not going to be handed over to ICE unless you’ve committed a crime, you’re a risk to national security,” she states. “So ICE is not going to be able to then take their DACA application, and find them, go pick them up and put them in removal proceedings.”
There are about 13,000 people with DACA permits in Nevada, and an estimated 3,200 of them are eligible for this extension.
A number of organizations are offering free help preparing the documents, including the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, the UNLV Law Clinic, the ACLU and the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must receive the application and the $495 fee by Oct. 5, so it should be mailed well before that in order to arrive on time.
Jones says her group is taking walk-in appointments now through Sept. 29.
“What we’re basically looking at is what’s happened between now and the last time you applied for renewal,” she states. “So we have to check and make sure that there’s no criminal issues, we’ve got to do – as trivial as listing all their addresses during that period of time, we have to have that information.”
Many DACA recipients are hoping Congress will pass the DREAM Act, legislation to help the so-called DREAMers get permanent legal status.
By Suzanne Potter
Public News Service – NV