PLUMAS is using funds raised from a gala it held in February to help University of Maryland students in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program pay for their renewal fees following President Trump’s announcement that the program will be phased out in six months.
Political Latinxs United for Movement and Action in Society is partnering with the University of Maryland’s undocumented student coordinator to use about $3,000 raised from its Dream Gala to assist students in DACA — a program that allows some undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to work and study in two-year blocks. — to pay for the $495 renewal fee, said Madelyne Ventura, the student organization’s president.
PLUMAS raised about $1,000 from ticket sales and $2,000 from a crowdfunding campaign.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is no longer accepting first-time DACA applications after Trump announced an end to the program on Sept. 5 and called on Congress to provide a replacement. However, those with permits that expire before March 5 can reapply until Oct. 5.
With only a month of warning, this has left some scrambling to put together $495 before the deadline, which can be difficult for those who don’t have savings or who are experiencing financial hardship, Ventura said.
“Our communities are in danger right now,” said Ventura, a senior mathematics major. “We all know someone who will be affected by this.”
DACA has granted nearly 800,000 people temporary legal status since it was created under former President Barack Obama in 2012. As of fall 2016, this university had 113 DACA students.
Ventura said PLUMAS had raised these funds in February to prepare for this kind of possibility.
“We are going to continue fighting for them,” she said.
PLUMAS is also providing information to DACA participants about renewal clinics, such as those held in nearby Langley Park on Sept. 16 and Sept. 30 by CASA, an immigration rights advocacy organization.
Laura Bohorquez, this university’s undocumented student coordinator, is “providing direct, personalized guidance to impacted students and connecting them to resources inside and outside of the university,” university spokeswoman Jessica Jennings wrote in an email.
Bohorquez did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
“Her focus is on direct support to students and prefers not to serve as a spokesperson on this sensitive topic, so our office facilitates all media requests for her so that she can remain focused on helping students,” Jennings wrote.
This university is providing resources to students reapplying through pro bono legal counsel from volunteer alumni and community members, as well as financial support for application fees from private individuals and organizations, Jennings wrote.
Counseling and informational workshops for undocumented students will also continue to be offered, she added.
María Berbery, a staff psychologist, said some DACA students have come into the Counseling Center following Trump’s announcement. The Center considers this an emergency, so students don’t have to schedule something in advance to get an appointment, she added.
Berbery said she advises students participating in DACA to focus on “taking care of themselves,” to acknowledge any feelings they are experiencing and to reach out to trusted friends or family members.
Other student organizations have also been finding ways they can assist those with DACA.
Jocelyn Nolasco, president of the Latinx Student Union, said the organization is looking to hold informational events to help affected students determine what they should do next.
“It’s important that we protect every DACAmented student and undocumented person in any way possible,” Nolasco said.
Students can apply to access the Dream Gala funds by filling out an online application, which is limited to this university’s students due to limited funds, according to its webpage.