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Emergency Fundraising Drive Started for Santa Monica College DACA Students


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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

September 13, 2017-- With hundreds of Santa Monica College DACA students at risk, the SMC Foundation Tuesday announced an emergency fundraising drive to help pay the $505 renewal fee per student due October 5 to remain protected from deportation.

The foundation said fundraising is needed because the re-application process for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (the formal name for DACA) is being fast-tracked in the wake of the Trump Administration’s decision to phase out Obama-era program.

Many of the so-called “Dreamers” -- young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents -- could have trouble raising money so quickly for the DACA fee, a SMC representative said.

“These young people have a very small window of time to complete and fund their applications,” said Louise Jaffe, a member of the SMC Board of Trustees, in announcing creation of the special fund by the SMC Foundation.

“We can help them,” she said. “This is an immediate, concrete action that everyone who is concerned can take. And there is no time to waste.”

Local public educators say it is uncertain how many of their students benefit from DACA. Jaffe estimated about 1,000 SMC students are undocumented, although it is unknown how many of those are enrolled in the DACA program ("More than 1,000 Santa Monica Students Could be Affected by Decision to End DACA," September 6, 2017).

The foundation, meanwhile, has pledged $15,000 to the fund and will match contributions. More information about the foundation’s fundraising drive click here.

If left intact, Trump’s decision phases out a five-year-old program enacted by an Obama executive order that protects an estimated 800,000 people nationwide brought into the country illegally as children. About half are in California.

The Trump Administration is giving Congress six months to write new immigration law to resolve the dilemma of those covered under the program.

It is unclear what would happen if Congress fails to act.

As it now stands, as early as March, officials say, some of the young people covered by DACA become eligible for deportation.

Under Trump’s decision, announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions this month, the beneficiaries of DACA would, in stages, no longer be able to lawfully hold jobs, buy homes, go to college and receive student aid or serve in the military.

Eventually, they would be open to deportation.


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