Cal Poly’s Dream Center offers DACA application assistance


Locals who are eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program can once again renew or apply for it—and Cal Poly’s Dream Center is offering assistance in the process.

The Dream Center is working with attorneys at Immigrant Legal Defense to help students with their pending or new applications. In a statement to New Times, the Dream Center said it provides holistic support for students renewing DACA or applying for the first time.

“We recognize the process can be stressful and incite feelings of anxiousness or fear for individuals. To ensure the wellbeing and safety of our students, we provide holistic services including academic, mental health, and legal services,” the Center’s statement read.
OPEN AGAIN Due to a court-mandated reversal of DACA policies, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is once again accepting renewals and first-time applications for DACA. - IMAGE COURTESY OF CAL POLY DREAM CENTER INSTAGRAM
  • OPEN AGAIN Due to a court-mandated reversal of DACA policies, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is once again accepting renewals and first-time applications for DACA.

The Trump administration worked to dismantle the Obama-era program when it formally announced it would end DACA in September 2017. It continued to severely limit the program by cutting down the length of deferred action permits and halting the acceptance of new applications.

But on Dec. 4, Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn ruled that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security must begin accepting new applications for the program as soon as Monday, Dec. 7.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, first-time requests for consideration of deferred action that were eligible before September 2017 are now eligible once again thanks to the ruling.

Garaufis also instructed the department to reinstate two-year permits for deferred action for qualifying applicants—in July of this year, the Trump administration had changed the length of time to one year.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must also accept applications for advance parole documents based on the terms of the DACA policy prior to September 2017. The decision also extends one-year employment authorization documents under DACA to two years.

Eligibility requirements for DACA remain the same: anyone requesting DACA must be at least 15 years old and have been under age 31 on June 15, 2012.

Recent data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services shows more than 645,000 active DACA recipients and upwards of 27,000 pending renewals.

Dream Center officials said the attorneys at the Immigrant Legal Defense provide no-cost legal services related to DACA renewals and detained/non-detained deportation defenses.

While there are no fees associated with its services, filing fees vary depending on the number and type of applications submitted.

If a student needs financial assistance, they can contact the Dream Center since it also partners with local nonprofits such as the Central Coast Coalition for Undocumented Student Success, which helps cover filing fees.

“Because immigration cases are highly dependent on unique circumstances, we encourage all individuals to consult an immigration attorney about their specific case. Attorneys will review the case, identify risk factors, and provide legal guidance,” the Dream Center’s statement said.

During this process, the Dream Center coordinator also meets individually with students applying for DACA to ensure they are supported and connected to relevant resources throughout the entire process.

The Center also hosts bi-weekly check-ins for undocumented students and hosts various informational webinars.

“Above all, we want to remind students that they are seen, worthy and valued. Dream Center is here to continuously uplift, empower, and defend students on campus,” its statement read.

Students interested in DACA services can contact Dream Center Coordinator Vania Agama at [email protected], or make an appointment through the Center’s website. ∆

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