On day of DACA application deadline, not all eligible Rhode Islanders have signed up

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – With the deadline for DACA renewal applications looming, Rhode Island’s undocumented immigrants known as “dreamers” are running out of time to avoid potential deportation, the Providence Journal reports.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was enacted by President Obama in 2012 and allows immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children to stay in the country to live, work, or study. It does not provide a path to citizenship.

Thursday is the last day for DACA recipients to apply to renew their status.

The program was recently rescinded by President Trump, who announced he would not allow any new applications to be submitted, though those already covered by the program could keep their status until their status expires. Those covered by the program have until October 5 to renew their applications for the last time.

For many, the $495 application fee poses a challenge.  According to the Journal, nonprofits in Rhode Island and across New England have scrambled to raise funds to assist those unable to afford the cost.

Just a few weeks ago, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced she would help provide financial assistance to those seeking to renew their DACA status. So far, the governor, with the help of local nonprofits, has amassed $170,000, a sum capable of funding 200-250 applicants.

“They are Rhode Islanders, they are people we want here and this is about just allowing the American dream to exist and thrive and live and be alive,” Raimondo said of the DACA youth.

At last count, just 72 eligible young people have submitted their DACA renewal applications with the state’s assistance, according to the Providence Journal, though it is worth noting that this figure does not include those who applied through local colleges that are also providing assistance to applicants.