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DACA Renewal Deadline Passes as Santa Monica Fundraisers Try to Determine How Many Locals Aided
By Niki Cervantes
October 10, 2017 -- With a crucial deadline for DACA come and gone, Santa Monica officials who quickly raised $60,000 to help program applicants avert deportation are waiting to determine how many students they aided.
The campaign, spearheaded by the Santa Monica College Foundation, raised donations to pay the $505 fee due Thursday for eligible recipients under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to renew their status.
No numbers on the total recipients were yet available from the SMC Foundation, said Taziwa Chanaiwa, a foundation consultant.
More than $35,000 in donations came from fundraising campaigns created by the foundation and from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District ("Emergency Fundraising Drive Started for Santa Monica College DACA Students," September 13, 2017 and "Santa Monica-Malibu School District Launches Fundraising Drive for DACA Students," September 22, 2017).
The Santa Monica City Council also approved $25,000 in matching funds ("Santa Monica City Council Poised to Help DACA Fundraising," September 21, 2017).
The fundraising blitz came shortly after the White House announced last month it was ending DACA, which was created by President Barack Obama by executive order.
The White House established a six-month delay on expiring protections for recipients whose DACA ends by March 5.
Those recipients had until Thursday to apply for a two-year renewal.
The foundation and others worried whether the young people could scrape together the fee so quickly.
Local public educators say it is uncertain how many of their students are part of the DACA program ("More than 1,000 Santa Monica Students Could be Affected by Decision to End DACA," September 6, 2017).
College officials estimate that about 1,000 SMC students are undocumented, while School District officials say that nearly 1,000 are classified as English Language Learners, a potential gauge for the number of students protected by DACA.
DACA was established in 2012 by executive order to extend temporary protection from deportation to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before the age of 16, have resided in the United States since 2007 and meet other requirements.
Lizzy Moore, dean of the SMC Foundation, said many volunteer attorneys helped students with the DACA renewal process through workshops and other free legal aid.
Although critics of the Trump Administration tried to get an extension of the October 5 deadline, there is no indication such a decision has been made.
Trump gave a six-month window to Congress to come up with an overhaul of immigration law.
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