New York area immigrant advocates fear many young people will not meet the October 5th deadline for undocumented immigrants to reapply for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
Yasmine Farhang, lead immigration attorney for Make the Road New York, said her umbrella group has been seeing many people come for information about how to renew since President Trump announced on September 5th that he would phase out DACA by March 6th unless Congress acts. But she said the one-month window was very tight and applicants needed to come up with the $495 application fee.
“This deadline is totally arbitrary and it’s really unworkable,” said Farhang, noting that October 5th was not a postmark date but the date the paperwork was needed by the government.
Farhang said her group alone has handled 150 renewal applications since September, but “we’re sure there are people who have yet to come to us and will be walking in our doors after the deadline.”
Advocates estimate 80,000 DACA recipients live in New York. Nobody knows how many were eligible to reapply. Those whose work authorizations run out after March 6th, 2018 are not eligible. But nationally, the New York Times reported that 154,000 DACA recipients out of about 800,000 were eligible, and that only about 40,000 had reapplied by the end of September.
As for those who miss the deadline, Farhang said they should still get a comprehensive evaluation to see if they are entitled to other forms of legal status or immigration relief. In New York City, anyone can call 311 and get an appointment with Action NYC legal help.
Beyond that, she said advocacy groups like her own would be fighting to get Congress to provide a long-term DREAM act for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children. “The critical time to fight is after the deadline,” she said.
Make the Road New York is also one of several groups that’s filed a federal lawsuit challenging the termination of DACA.
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