For thousands of Dreamers across the country, the Oct. 5 DACA renewal deadline looms large. That date affects recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program whose benefits are set to expire between Sept. 5 and March 5, 2018.
It’s not as easy as just renewing online, though. Fees for DACA renewal cost as much as the initial request — $465, according to the National Immigration Law Center. For those strapped for cash, the cost is another stressor adding to the uncertainty of living in the United States as an immigrant during the Trump administration.
But there’s good news for Dreamers in Boston. Several local companies are stepping up and providing the funding to pay for the renewals of Boston-area DACA beneficiaries.
The Boston Foundation, a community foundation made up of more than 1,000 charitable funds, announced the initiative this week.
“The announcement comes in response to concerns raised by local nonprofit organizations witnessing the anxiety and hardship compounded by the October 5 application deadline,” the organization said in a release.
Massachusetts alone is home to about 19,000 Dreamers. Though not all of them will be affected by the Oct. 5 deadline, the Boston Foundation said that several hundred will be, which, at nearly $500 per person for renewal fees, adds up fast.
Eastern Bank, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Arbella Insurance have provided up to $65,000 in initial funding to the Foundation for the effort. That money will help award grants to the local community organizations that are helping applicants during the renewal process.
Boston’s Office of Immigrant Advancement is reaching out to local nonprofit partners to raise awareness about the program.
"We know how important DACA has been for thousands of Bostonians,” Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement. “After the administration decided to revoke this program, we have repeated the call for comprehensive immigration reform and worked with partners throughout our city to step up and support those affected.
Walsh thanked the companies involved as well as the Boston Foundation's “generous initiative to address the economic barrier to renew DACA for those who are eligible.”
“[It] will go a long way in helping these Americans, their families, and their employers maintain stability until a real solution is achieved,” he added.
Interested organizations can contact Dan Sherman, senior director of Donor Partnerships at the Boston Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.