CUNY, one of nation’s largest university systems offers renewal fee for undocumented students

People hold signs against U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed end of the DACA program that protects immigrant children from deportation at a protest in New York City, U.S., August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Joe Penney

The City University of New York, which serves more than 272,000 degree-seeking students, is offering its thousands of undocumented student recipients of DACA status, the hundreds of dollars they need to apply for renewing their status.  The acronym DACA refers to President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allowed youth who arrived in the U.S. as children with their undocumented parents, a path to permanent legal residency and potential citizenship.

As the “Dreamers” (DACA youth) on  campus face the strict Oct. 5 deadline to apply for renewal of their DACA immigration status,  CUNY will have the $495 application fee covered when they attend the CUNY Citizenship Now! DACA renewal events. That’s thanks to a partnership with the New Economy Project and support from other philanthropic organizations, a Sept. 21 press release from CUNY said.

The Project, which has operated a DACA loan fund since 2012, is now paying the fees outright for New York City applicants who meet income guidelines or face financial hardship. Non-CUNY students who live in New York City and meet income guidelines will also have the fee paid; others can secure an interest-free loan, regardless of income.

The Project contacted CUNY Citizenship Now! to attend most of the events and cut the $495 application checks for Dreamers who meet the Project’s income and residency eligibility requirements. CUNY student dreamers who do not meet the New Economy Project’s requirements will still receive their application fee checks via alternate non-profit funders, the press release said.

The checks will be made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and as grants do not have to be paid back.

“CUNY has provided a bridge to the middle class and beyond to generations of immigrant New Yorkers,” Chancellor James B. Milliken is quoted saying in the press release. “Given the current political climate, and the fear and uncertainty it has created in immigrant communities, we are doing all we can to support the thousands of CUNY DACA students. CUNY, in fact, is doing more to support Dreamers than any college or university system in the country,” Milliken contends.

The Trump administration announced earlier this month that it was ending DACA and barring new applications, and that anyone whose Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals work authorization was to expire between Sept. 5, this year, and March 5, 2018, will have to renew by Oct. 5 to keep their status. Since then, donors, organizations and others in New York City and around the country have stepped in to provide funds to help Dreamers with the renewal fee.

At the CUNY Citizenship Now! Renewal and Screening Clinics, the New Economy Project will provide the $495 fee grants to eligible New York City Dreamers whose household incomes range from no more than $30,150 for one person to a $71,950 cap for a five-person household, or who face other financial hardship. Those exceeding the income thresholds or who do not live in NYC will be assisted at the clinic events in applying online for grants which can also be delivered quickly. Interest-free loans to cover the cost of the application fee are available to anyone in NYC, regardless of income.

A CUNY Citizenship Now! DACA Renewal and Screening Clinics – are being held at following locations —

Tuesday, Sept. 26, City College, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 26, Hostos Community College, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 27, CUNY School of Professional Studies, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 28, Medgar Evers College, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.



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