With the elections just around the corner, DACA recipients fear the program that benefits thousands of young immigrants will be completely eliminated if President Donald Trump is reelected.
Several civil organizations are telling those who qualify to renew their permit should do so before the Nov. 3 elections.
“If they can, all [DACA recipients] should renew their permit as soon as possible. Trump has said several times that his intention is to end DACA, and if he is reelected he will do so permanently,” said Vanessa Pumar, El Rescate’s legal services' director.
The fear that the program will end is also shared by those who have benefited from the program’s protection before, including artist Julio Salgado who says he would be devastated if DACA ends.
“What will happen if [Trump] becomes president again? The fear will return,” said Salgado.
But renewing a DACA permit can be expensive; the government fee alone costs nearly $500 and now it is an annual fee. “Before you had to pay every two years; now it is an annual fee,” said Salgado.
And getting advice from an attorney that can help those with complicated cases is also expensive. Their fees can range from $500 to $1,500.
Pumar says that if a DACA recipient has had a negative interaction with ICE or with police, he or she should get legal advice.
However, there are organizations like "El Rescate" that provide assistance to those in need in the Los Angeles area. “Renew your DACA if you can. There are many organizations that are offering financial aid,” said Salgado, who has taken advantage of such organizations.
According to experts, the most important thing is to take action now. Anyone who qualifies must apply for renewal before the elections.
El Rescate offers legal advice services at no cost (must pay government fee) and can be reached at 213-387-3284, Ext. 110 and 112. People can also go to the organization's office at 1605 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 516, Los Angeles, CA 90015.