The deadline to submit renewal applications for the program known as DACA is Thursday, but some people may be struggling to find enough money for the application fee.
Last month President Trump decided to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, though he’s allowing one final renewal for people whose waivers are set to expire by next March. This Obama-era policy allows people who were brought to the country illegally as children to live and work in the U.S. for a two-year renewable period.
According to Jody Mashek, legal director of the American Friends Service Committee's Iowa office, the process to submit renewal paperwork for a DACA waiver isn’t too arduous. But she says a number of her clients who have applications ready to go haven’t yet sent them in because of the $495 fee.
"I’m concerned there are people who don’t have the $495 to renew it," Mashek says, "because maybe it came up too suddenly, they thought they would have another month or two to pull that money together."
Mashek has been directing people to national organizations that are providing application fee scholarships.
There seems to be political momentum from both Democrats and Republicans to find a permanent replacement for the DACA program, though the details, such as border security, threaten the process. As a result, Mashek says she’s seeing a lot of nervousness and frustration.
"I’ve had a lot of clients who I’ve watched graduate from high school...they’ve gone on to college, they’re building their careers," she says. "What I see is just a lot of fear, and it’s like everything that they’ve strived to achieve for the past five years could potentially be just thrown back in their faces."
As this past June, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reports more than 2,800 Iowa residents have been approved for DACA.