Attorney explains what’s happening with DACA | 1:02
Ray Ybarra Maldonado talks about the program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals being rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017, at press conference outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix. Mark Henle/azcentral.com
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The difference between DACA and the Dream act | 2:30
Reporter Dianna M. Náñez interviews Belen Sisa, a DACA recipient and ASU student, about what the DACA is and the difference between DACA and the Dream Act.
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What are the requirements of DACA? | 1:25
Reporter Dianna M. Náñez interviews Belen Sisa, a DACA recipient and ASU student, about what the requirements are for becoming a DACA recipient.
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What is the cost of DACA? | 0:53
Reporter Dianna M. Náñez interviews Belen Sisa, a DACA recipient and ASU student, about what the cost of DACA is.
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DACA recipients and supporters hold press conference outside ICE building | 1:24
Phoenix residents Korina Iribe and Daniela Benitez discuss Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals during a press conference in downtown Phoenix on Aug. 29, 2017. Sean Logan/azcentral.com
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Attorney explains what’s happening with DACA
The difference between DACA and the Dream act
What are the requirements of DACA?
What is the cost of DACA?
DACA recipients and supporters hold press conference outside ICE building
So what happens if and when the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program ends?
The Trump administration announced Tuesday it would gradually halt the DACA program, leaving nearly 800,000 “dreamers” around the country — including 27,865 in Arizona — wondering what their future holds.
Members of the Center for Neighborhood Leadership gathered Saturday with the Phoenix community to try to answer that question.
“We don’t know what is going to happen in six months,” said the executive director of the the Center for Neighborhood Leadership, Viridiana Hernandez. “But we have to be prepared.”
Former President Barack Obama created the program in June 2012 to offer protection from deportation to people brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
In exchange for registering with the government, dreamers receive two-year deportation deferments and federal employment-authorization documents that allow them to work legally in the U.S.
To qualify, dreamers must show they entered the U.S. before turning 16, were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, and had lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007. Applicants must also be enrolled in school, or have a high school diploma or equivalency. They also must have a clean criminal record free of any felony convictions, significant misdemeanors or three other misdemeanors.
Hernandez, who was previously a DACA recipient but gained residency through marriage in 2015, explained to community members the importance of knowing their rights, how to renew DACA and work permits, as well as options available to those who are protected under DACA.
“That was my reality then and that is my reality now,” Hernandez said. “We do not get to sit this one out. We cannot be paralyzed from this fear.”
According to the Trump administration, DACA recipients can still renew their permits for two years if they apply before Oct. 5. The program would then gradually be phased out as permits expire.
Josh Nuñez, an immigration attorney at Nuñez & Associates, is suggesting recipients renew their permits and is helping the community do so by offering his services pro bono. He is also fundraising to help applicants cover the $495 renewal fee.
“They’ve integrated into society, they’re buying cars and houses, they’re going to school, they have good-paying jobs and they’ve become professionals and they’re productive,” he said. “Ninety percent of DACA recipients are full-time students, or have full-time jobs, or both.”
Nuñez, who has been representing DACA recipients since 2012, has gathered a group of 70 attorneys who are willing to also provide services pro bono.
Other topics discussed during the community meeting were employment, education and tuition assistance, and how to deal with a potential raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.
DACA recipient and community organizer Cyntia Domenzain advised the community to prepare for the worst, prepare for the best and prepare for the fight.
“We cannot stand for family separations,” she said. “We are people with a vision and dreams and there are no borders high enough for our dreams.”
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