/ Modified apr 14, 2022 9:07 a.m.

DACA recipients can now apply to renew status online

Up until now, that paperwork had to be mailed into the agency and getting a response could take months.

Daca protesters Demonstrators protest in favor of protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients.
AZPM

Citizenship and Immigration Services will now accept online renewal applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. That's the Obama-era policy that gives some 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children a work permit and temporary protection from deportation.

DACA recipients apply to renew their status every two years, a process that costs almost $500.

Up until now, that paperwork had to be mailed into the agency and getting a response could take months. Phoenix resident Jose Patiño was left without DACA protection a few years ago when his renewal was delayed.

"I just remember how nervous everyday I was, just driving, going to work and checking in with my HR person everyday, and all that anxiety," he said. "I never want to go through that again."

Patiño, who now serves as the director of education and external affairs at Mesa-based immigrant advocacy group Aliento, says not having an expired DACA status can mean a person is no longer allowed to work, or drive in Arizona, and could be subject to deportation. He says that's why he advises people applying for renewal, to do so as early as possible. He hopes the new, online process will make things more secure and streamlined, and cut down on filing mistakes.

But DACA is still just a temporary status with no pathway to citizenship. Patiño says he’s still hoping for a long-term solution from Congress.

Fronteras Desk
Fronteras Desk is a KJZZ project covering important stories in an expanse stretching from Northern Arizona deep into northwestern Mexico.
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