Immigration advocates, city officials support DACA recipients in limbo

LOS ANGELES — The waiting game continues for the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which is now in the hands of the Supreme Court.

Since last month, justices have been hearing oral arguments on some cases to determine if the Trump administration’s termination of the Obama-era program, which has shielded nearly 700,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation, was lawful. 

And while no new applications are accepted for now, DACA renewals could also change significantly — because of a proposal to increase immigration fees by the Department of Homeland Security from $495 to $725. 

And as DACA beneficiaries and immigrant rights advocates anticipate rulings on DACA rulings — expected in the first half of 2020 — they’re also trying to find ways to organize and stay united as a community. 

“It helped me get out the shadows and pursue my dreams, as a business owner now I can see how I can generate wealth for this country and I can give back to this society.”

Ethnic Media Services, and Los Angeles County supervisors recently held a briefing on the update of DACA, with some 82 thousand recipients within the LA area, and officials said they’ll continue to fight and provide services for DACA recipients.

“Anyone needing legal advice can also call our office of immigrant affairs, who is standing by to offer assistance,” said Judith Vasquez, LA County 1st district Senior Adviser.

“A public education should be afforded to all. On behalf of the 9 college presidents our board of trustees, I want to reaffirm our district’s absolute commitment to a place where all students can pursue their educational goals, if and their dream irrespective of their immigration status,” said Dr. Francisco Rodriguez, Chancellor at LA Community College District.

 Tiffany Panlilio of Asian Americans Advancing Justice said DACA recipients and other young undocumented immigrants needing help should reach out to community groups and lawyers to explore their options.

“Just continue to come in. What we do for all our clients, even if they’re not qualified for DACA we could just talk together, see their immigration history, see if they’re eligible for something better than DACA thats usually what we aim to do in the first place, and at the very least if you can be eligible for DACA you can make sure your application goes in before the fee increase and get you protected so you can continue to work.”

And while a fee increase for a DACA renewal is a possibility, she said applicants should also need to also reconsider their options.

“I would probably sit in with a legal representive to see if its advisable for you to file a year in advance the things to consider if you want to apply more than a year advance, the thing to consider the $495 you paid the year before isn’t going to cover for another two years that means your expiration date also moves up.

 For now — the waiting game continues. 

And advocates are reminding the immigrant community that any proposed immigration fee increase would have to go through a public comment period before implementation.

As for the Supreme Court decision on DACA, they said there will also be a waiting period before any actions are taken on DACA recipients.

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