A Guide To Resources For DACA Recipients In Los Angeles

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(Photo by Julia Wick/LAist)

By Alex Martinez

Some 800,000 young immigrants—many of them from California—are at risk of losing their work permits and deportation protection after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the Obama-era DACA program would be rescinded.

This means the government will no longer process first-time applications under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, a two-year renewal policy that allows people who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 to defer deportation.

The White House, however, is giving Congress a six-month deadline to come up with a legislative fix before the government stops processing permits for those already covered by Obama’s policy.

In the meantime, DACA beneficiaries will be able to legally work until their work permits expire.

But there is a strict and approaching deadline for those whose work permits expire between now and March 5, 2018. Those applications must be submitted by October 5, 2017.

DACA applications are expensive and can be complicated to submit. Below are a few resources that DACA immigrants in Los Angeles can use to learn more about the program’s repeal and how it affects your renewal process and employment.

RENEWING AND LEGAL HELP

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center has a helpful guide on what to do after DACA’s repeal. It answers questions about work permits, social security numbers, and traveling with advance parole—an immigration provision that allows DACA recipients to travel abroad. It’s important to note that the government will reject all new applications to travel through advance parole.

The Los Angeles-based National Immigration Law Center posted a list of guidelines and frequently asked questions after the DACA repeal announcement was made. It answers questions about employment and higher education information.

The website for the LA County Office of Immigrant Affairs offers a breakdown of the program and tips on what you need to know once the program ends. It provides resources for legal representation and steps to take to renew your application.

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, or CHIRLA, can assist immigrants with their DACA renewal applications. They are headquartered near MacArthur Park at 2533 W. 3rd Street and they recently opened a new South L.A. office at 4301 S. Central Avenue. CHIRLA offers legal immigration consultation services beginning at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday. CHIRLA will be offering free legal services to all eligible Dreamers. CHIRLA is also raising funds for their DACA trust fund, which will help them cover the $495 DACA renewal application fees for individuals who need assistance. You can donate here.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA is offering free renewal assistance to eligible DACA recipients every Thursday throughout September. Call 888-349-9695 to set up an appointment.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

DACA applications are not cheap. Each application costs $495 to renew.

Los Angeles organizer Zacil Vazquez created a crowdfunding page to help fund DACA renewal fees. As of Wednesday at noon, more than $47,000 has been raised.

“We will continue raising funds with more urgency now for applicants that have to renew within a MONTH's time,” the site said. DACA beneficiaries who’d like to obtain financial assistance from the crowdfunding campaign should send an email to dacafund@gmail.com. The email must include an attached copy/picture of their current work permit (omit personal info such as USCIS #, WAC #, address and birthday), along with a brief explanation on the financial hardships one is currently facing.

DO I TELL MY EMPLOYER?

You don’t have to tell your employer about your DACA status, according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. According to the LA County Office of Immigrant Affairs, your employer also does not have the right to ask you whether you are a DACA beneficiary or how you got your permit.

“Your employer does not have the right to fire you, put you on leave, or change your work status until after your work permit has expired,” according to the office’s website. The LA County Office of Immigrant Affairs advises DACA beneficiaries to contact them if an employer has retaliated against them due to their immigration status. The office’s number is 1-800-593-8222.