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Some in IL Scramble to Meet DACA Deadline This Week

Nonprofit groups that assist immigrants in Illinois are answering questions for those concerned about the DACA renewal process.  (Resurrection Project)
Nonprofit groups that assist immigrants in Illinois are answering questions for those concerned about the DACA renewal process. (Resurrection Project)
October 4, 2017

CHICAGO - There's an important deadline this week for thousands of "Dreamers" across the state. Thursday is the last day to apply for renewal under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, or DACA.

If your permit expires between now and March 5, said Laura Mendoza, immigration organizer with the Resurrection Project, a nonprofit helping immigrants in Illinois, you must apply to renew by Thursday's deadline.

Since President Trump took office and vowed to deport more immigrants, she said, groups such as hers have been flooded with questions. Many people who have been in the United States for years are worried they'll be sent back to a country they barely remember - but also worried about the DACA renewal process.

"Some people have actually chosen not to go forward with their renewal even though they were eligible to renew," she said, "and it's because of that fear - that fear of not knowing what the government is going to do with their information."

The Obama administration launched DACA in 2012 to protect immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation and to allow them to work or go to school. An estimated 800,000 have benefited from DACA, including 42,000 in Illinois.

Mendoza urged immigrants and those who are supporting them to get advice about the DACA renewal process only from trusted sources. She said it's also important to stay informed and involved in the immigration debate.

"This is the time that we need to make sure that our politicians are passing legislation that would be law that ... wouldn't be able to be taken away like DACA was," she said.

Mendoza said the Resurrection Project has posted informational videos about DACA renewals and other immigration issues on its Facebook page.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IL