When the Trump Administration announced plans to end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, many Philadelphians expressed dismay.

Across the United States, approximately 790,000 Americans have benefited from the DACA program.

The program, started under the Obama Administration, allows for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, often as infants, to remain in the country under certain conditions. DACA provides rolling deferrals from deportation and work permits.

In other words, it ensures that Americans who have lived in the U.S. their entire lives can work, attend school, and pay taxes in a way that fully complies with federal law. Ending DACA not only pushes hard-working Americans into the shadows; it also stands in opposition to centuries of America’s promise of being a land of immigrants and a place of opportunity.

There are concrete actions, including donating toward DACA renewal application fees, you can take right now to stand up for Philadelphians who are affected by DACA.

3 Actions you can take right now to support DACA

Support the Dreamers Initiative.

The Philadelphia Foundation is assisting the PA is Ready! campaign’s Dreamers Initiative to help eligible Pennsylvanians pay the $495 fee needed to renew DACA permits before the October 5 deadline.

A $50 donation pays for 10% of an application renewal. A $250 donation pays for half of a DACA renewal. And, a $500 donation pays for 100% of one DACA renewal.

All donations are tax-deductible and those received by September 25, 2017, go toward the Dreamers Initiative. Donations received in excess of distributed DACA application fees will support the ongoing work of immigrant-serving organizations through PA is Ready!

PA is Ready! is coordinated by the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition using collaborative grantmaking led by immigrant-serving organizations.

Support DACA and DACA recipients in your everyday life.

Call your representatives in Congress. You can also find additional ways to take action to help DACA recipients here.

Share information about local resources.

If you are a DACA recipient or a family member of a DACA recipient in Philadelphia, local organizations will provide safe places for families and DACA recipients to gather and gain more information.

In Philadelphia, those places are:

  • SEAMAAC, 1711 S Broad Street, 215-467-0690
  • Aquinas Center, 1700 Fernon Street, 267-928-4048
  • New Sanctuary Movement, 2601 Potter Street, 215-279-7060
  • Juntos (Spanish-speaking), 600 Washington Avenue, Unit 18a-2, 215-218-9079

There are two upcoming DACA renewal clinics happening in Philadelphia, too. HIAS lawyers will assist eligible DACA beneficiaries complete and submit their renewal applications before the October 5 deadline. Call 215-832-0900 to register for either of these clinics.

Please call 215-832-0900 to register for either of these clinics.

There is a DACA information community meeting at Tilden Middle School on Monday, September 25, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. as well. At this public meeting hosted by Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, lawyers and advocates will be on hand to answer questions in English and Spanish.

7 Quick Facts: What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?

  1. On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced the Trump administration decision, argued that DACA was an unlawful overreach by President Barack Obama and said he could not defend it.
  2. The program was ended with a six month delay intended to allow Congress to act before the March 5, 2018.If your DACA permit expires between now and March 5, 2018 you can apply for a two-year renewal, but you must apply by October 5, 2017.
  3. As of September 5, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security will cut off all new applications immediately. Those whose DACA permits expire between now and March 5, 2018, can apply for a two-year renewal by October 5, 2017.  
  4. DACA was an immigration option for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before the age of 16. Although DACA did not provide a pathway to lawful permanent residency, it did provide temporary protection from deportation, allowed for work authorization, and the ability to apply for a social security number.
  5. Over the last five years, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has changed the lives of nearly 800,000 young people. By providing the opportunity for people to come forward, pass rigorous background checks, and obtain permission to live and work in the United States lawfully, DACA has helped people pursue higher education, earn better wages to support their families, and buy homes.
  6. To qualify for DACA, you needed to meet certain requirements. The requirements included:
    • You were under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012;
    • You first came to the United States before your 16th birthday;
    • You have lived continuously in the United States from June 15, 2007 until the present;
    • You are currently studying, or you graduated from high school or earned a certificate of completion of high school or GED, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or military (technical and trade school completion also qualifies); and
    • You have NOT been convicted of a felony, certain significant misdemeanors (including a single DUI), or three or more misdemeanors of any kind.
  7.  If Congress does not act to renew DACA, nearly 800,000 young people would face the prospect of losing their ability to work and be at risk for deportation from the only country they call home. This would be a huge loss of opportunity, skills, and talent for our country.

If you have a question about DACA or other ways you can support Philadelphia’s immigrant community, contact the Office of Immigrant Affairs online or by calling 215-686-0876.