The Trump Administration has set an Oct. 5th deadline for DACA recipients to renew their status. On Saturday, immigration advocates and attorneys offered free legal help to some of the 800,000 kids brought to the U.S. as minors who are now facing that deadline.
DACA applicants like Ashley Velez are racing against the clock to renew permits ahead of a looming deadline set by the Trump Administration. “Like if immigration stops me I can say no you cannot take me because I’m legally here,” said Velez.
Velez moved to U.S. from Mexico when she was only 4-years-old.
She said the support offered to her gives her a better understanding. “They said whatever information you need ask me and I asked for a lot of information like what I could do in my case,” said Velez.
Some DACA recipients are eligible to apply for a renewal that could keep them in this country legally for two more years but they must apply for that renewal by Oct. 5th.
After that date, no one else can renew their protected status.
Velez said she’s amongst the many whose renewal permit does not fall within the deadline window.
“Mine is expired a week after,” said Velez.
In order to reapply, a local immigration attorney tells FOX 7, a recipients' work permit and deferral has to expire by Mar. 5, 2018. For Velez, hers expires after that date - leaving her in a waiting game to see if congress will extend it. She said her biggest fear is deportation.
“I’m scared because if I go back to where I’m from it will be like a strange place because I don’t remember anything from where I was. I came over here when I was 4-years-old and now I’m 17,” said Velez.
Work permits are another DACA benefit, they have been a lifeline for many young immigrants who have been educated in American schools and know no other home than the United States.
“It’s estimated that 8,000 recipients per week will be losing their work permits. So they will have no means of working and getting money to pay off cars houses tuition living expenses,” said Vanessa Rodriguez a student at the University of Texas and volunteer at Saturday’s event.
Rodriguez said people need to take advantage of the recourses because times running out.
“It’s only a countdown for six more days really people need to get applications in,” said Rodriguez.
Velez said coming to this session not only gives her guidance but said she walks away with a sense of hope. “I don’t go home being all sad, I go home and say ‘ok’ I have options and I’m not going to get sad or I’m not going to get depressed. There will be more opportunities. God does stuff for a reason,” said Velez.