Last September the Trump administration announced a phasing out of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program known as DACA. He gave Congress six months to pass a Dream Act which would provide citizenship to Dreamers under DACA. A group of concerned Summit County Residents raised thousands of dollars last spring to help pay for renewal costs of those already under DACA status. Once again, they’re raising funds to help pay the 495-dollar renewal fee. Carolyn Murray has this:
The DACA issue has been in the courts with two Federal Court rulings upholding the Obama Administration order providing immigrant children temporary protection from deportation. It allows children of illegal immigrants to work, attend college and obtain driver’s licenses. Park City resident, Moe Hickey helps local kids obtain DACA renewals, which must be done every two years.
“This is timely. So last week a federal court ruled the ending of the DACA program or the suspension of the DACA Program was illegal by the current administration. However, there’s an expected ruling in Texas on the constitutionality of DACA. The general feeling is the judge will rule that it was unconstitutional in it’s origin. So now you’ll have two federal courts saying it’s legal, one saying it’s not legal. It’s the first time evidently that precedent is out there. It would then go to the Supreme Court which if they had an interim hearing this summer, which is what they’d ask for, the expectation is then that you would have a four to four split court.”
Hickey says immigration lawyers advise proceeding with renewals but to suspend submitting new applications for now. He says it affects a lot of people living in the area.
“We’ve been focused on just this community. There’s a nation wide issue here but if you just look at this community, with new applications…you know we don’t have an exact number because, obviously people are not going to come forward and acknowledge it, but the estimate is that we probably have in our school system now somewhere between 75 and a hundred students that have not applied but would be eligible to apply, which is significant. We also have community wide, because the program probably covers up to people who are around up to 30 years old. Just in the past two weeks I’ve had five people come that have lost their jobs.”
Those five people submitted the correct paperwork on time and have not received their renewal cards. He says there is some concern that renewal cards are being stolen in the mail. Hickey says Employers will also be affected.
“You know this is one of those situations where you really have two sides struggling. The employer who did the right thing who tried to hire people with credible documentation and proper paperwork. Once they did that now they’re subject to acknowledging they don’t have the DACA renewal card. And when you don’t get your DACA renewal card, you lose your drivers license and your eligibility for employment until your card is renewed. So, it’s going to start affecting more than just the applicant, it’s going to start affecting the employers in town.”
Hickey says there seems to be an administrative backlog, but he isn’t sure why that is. They’re working with Holy Cross Ministries, Communities United and Immigration Services in Salt Lake City.
“You know the backlog argument…I don’t know…I think we could do a quicker job with background checks. They are already in the system. These are not new applicants. But, we’re struggling. We’re going to continue to put in the renewal applications until legal advises us not to do that. For example, we put in five renewal applications yesterday. There was a little bit of a rush this week. Because of the Texas ruling, people wanted to get the post mark on it before the ruling.”
Hickey says they’ve done 65 renewal applications so far. The school districts cannot identify eligible DACA Applicants, but Hickey says they will help anyone who comes forward.
“We focused it on Park City residents at the beginning but then we found out we had Park City graduates who are living in Wasatch and who are going to UVU so we’ve assisted with them.”
For those interested in donating, go to the Park City Education Foundation at PCEF4kids.org, go to the donate tab and click on DACA or call Moe Hickey at 435-729-0233.