CUNY to cover Dreamer’s DACA fees — if they act fast

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CUNY student Dreamers facing the strict Oct. 5 deadline to apply for renewal of their DACA immigration status will have the $495 application fee covered on the spot at CUNY Citizenship Now! DACA renewal events, thanks to a partnership with a New York nonprofit that raised funds to pay the fees.  Non-CUNY students who meet income guidelines will also have the fee waived; others can secure an interest-free loan, regardless of income.

The New Economy Project contacted CUNY Citizenship Now! to attend the events and cut the $495 application checks for Dreamers – people brought into the United States as children without documentation – meeting income eligibility requirements. The checks will be made out to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and as grants do not have to be paid back. 

“CUNY has provided a bridge to the middle class and beyond to generations of immigrant New Yorkers,” said Chancellor James B. Milliken. “Given the current political climate, and the fear and uncertainty it has created in immigrant communities, we are doing all we can to support the thousands of CUNY DACA students.  CUNY, in fact, is doing more to support Dreamers than any college or university system in the country. For that, we are grateful to the New Economy Project and other organizations throughout the city that have joined CUNY in providing a strong support network for our Dreamers, who want nothing more than to continue living, learning and contributing in the United States.”   

The Trump administration announced earlier this month that it was ending DACA and barring new applications, and that anyone whose Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals work authorization was to expire between Sept. 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018, will have to renew by Oct. 5 to keep their status. Since then, donors, organizations and others in New York City and around the country have stepped in to provide funds to help Dreamers with the renewal fee.

At the CUNY Citizenship Now! Renewal and Screening Clinics, the New Economy Project will provide the $495 fee grants to eligible New York City Dreamers whose household incomes range from no more than $30,150 for one person to a $71,950 cap for a five-person household. Those exceeding the income thresholds will be assisted at the clinic events in applying online for grants which can also be delivered quickly. Interest-free loans to cover the cost of the application fee are available to anyone, regardless of income.

A CUNY Citizenship Now! DACA Renewal and Screening Clinic – staffed by pro bono attorneys and others, and offering DACA renewal assistance and screening for eligibility for other immigration benefits – was held at CUNY School of Professional Studies on Sept. 20, and five more will be held at the following colleges on these dates:

•           Saturday, Sept. 23, John Jay College, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
•           Tuesday, Sept. 26, City College, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
•           Tuesday, Sept. 26, Hostos Community College, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
•           Wednesday, Sept. 27, CUNY School of Professional Studies, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
•           Thursday, Sept. 28, Medgar Evers College, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Students and others attending the events will be screened for DACA renewal eligibility, and for other more permanent immigration benefits. These include Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) for minors who have entered the country and not living with their parents, are wards of the state or in foster care; U visas, for people who have been victims of crimes here; asylum; and family-based petitions, for example, for those married to a U.S. citizen or green card holder.