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A ray of hope for local ‘Dreamers’: Feds to resume accepting DACA renewals

Courtesy photo: SEPA Mujer

In a statement released Saturday, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said that it will resume the acceptance of “requests to renew a grant of deferred action” under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, due “to a federal court order,” providing relief to many local residents.

“Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017,” the statement said.

“These news mean hope to the Dreamers,” said SEPA Mujer community organizer Rommy Aznarán. “This is a step forward in what we are trying to achieve.”

Long Island Immigrant Students Advocates founder and community organizer Osman Canales, said that this move “proves the power Dreamers have,” but he continued saying that immigrant advocates “are aware that this administration will do everything in its power to end DACA.”

Last week U.S. District Judge William Alsup, a federal judge in California, had blocked the White House’s orders to end the DACA program, and also ruled that, while litigation on this issue continues, it must remain in place.

DACA— a 2012 executive order by former president Barack Obama to formally defer deportation of undocumented young people who where brought to the U.S. as children and met specific criteria relating to age, age of arrival, education or military service and a clean criminal record—shields almost 700,000 recipients, or Dreamers, and allows them to work legally.

“We know that DACA is a temporary solution, and we recognize the need to fight for a permanent one, that is why we are asking congress to approve the Dream Act,” said Canales.

“Dreamers are our future. America needs these young men and women as shining examples of what we stand for: opportunity, perseverance, ingenuity, and hope in the face of even the toughest foes,” OLA of Eastern Long Island executive director Minerva Pérez said.

According to data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are about 42,000 Dreamers in New York State alone, and 14,000 in Long Island.

Although it is unclear from the USCIS statement when DACA recipients will be allowed to apply for their renewals, the following criteria has to be followed:

  • Individuals who were previously granted deferred action under DACA may request renewals filing appropriate forms and fees.
  • Individuals who previously received DACA and their DACA expired on or after Sept. 5, 2016 may still file a DACA request as a renewal request.
  • Individuals who previously received DACA and their DACA expired before Sept. 5, 2016 or their DACA was previously terminated at any time, cannot request DACA as a renewal.
  • USCIS is not accepting requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA.
  • USCIS will not accept or approve advance parole requests from DACA recipients.

Local immigrant advocates are urging DACA recipients to contact reputable immigration attorneys or organizations who can guide them and to beware of scams.

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Maria Piedrabuena
María, a multimedia reporter, graduated from Stony Brook University with degrees in journalism and women and gender studies. She has worked for several news outlets including News12 and Fortune Magazine. A native of Spain, she loves to read, write and travel. She lives in Manorville. Email Maria