Seattle organizations offer assistance as DACA deadline looms

Paul Quinonez with the Washington Dream Coalition speaks about his experience under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program earlier this month. (Photo by Venice Buhain)

Local organizations are offering to help young immigrants hit a critical October deadline, as President Donald Trump shuts down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The deadline to renew DACA status is Oct. 5, 2017, for people whose status expires on March 15, 2018. Applications must be received by the Department of Homeland Security by that date. The deadline only applies to people who are seeking renewal — the federal government is no longer taking new applications.

Organizations including the city of Seattle, Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA), the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project, Catholic Immigration Legal Services, Colectiva Legal del Pueblo, the Washington Dream Coalition, St. James Immigrant Assistance are among those providing information sessions and legal help at workshops through next week.

A flyer from Seattle’s Office of Refugee and Immigrant Affairs lists documents and information that people attending workshops will need.

Organizations, including local group 21 Progress, also are offering financial help to people who cannot immediately afford the $495 application fee. 21 Progress is offering an interest-free loan. National groups, including UndocuMedia and the Mission Access Fund, are accepting applications for financial sponsorship of the renewal fee.

The Obama-era DACA program established by executive action in 2012 frees enrollees from the worry of deportation and gives them permits for work. About 800,000 people are enrolled throughout the nation, including 20,000 in Washington state. The program has enabled many enrollees to pursue higher education and get jobs.

Trump promised to crack down on undocumented immigrants as part of his campaign, but Trump’s administration also said it was up to Congress to change the immigration situation for young people who qualified for DACA.

DACA help and information sessions

  • Sept. 20, 4 p.m., Tacoma Community House, 1314 South L Street, Tacoma.
  • Sept. 22 and 29, 3 p.m., Refugee Women’s Alliance, DACA application renewal assistance. Appointments required.
  • Sept. 22, 6 p.m., Everett Community College, Jackson Conference Center, 2000 Tower St, Everett. DACA information sessions and DACA application renewal assistance.
  • Sept. 24, 10 a.m., South Seattle College, Georgetown Campus, 6737 Corson Ave S
    Seattle, WA 98108, DACA information sessions, DACA application renewal assistance, and immigration consultations.
  • The Northwest Immigrants Rights Project is also holding two DACA renewal clinics, though appointments are necessary.
    • Information from the Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Northwest Immigrants Rights Project