Student volunteers and staff from St. Mary’s Law School have been spending much of their time at its Center for Legal and Social Justice helping “Dreamers” get deferred action to avoid deportation, with the opportunity to re-apply every two years.
Adriane Meneses, an attorney and clinical immigration fellow, said the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Project began in 2012 soon after the U.S. government began accepting the applications.
She said so far, all 200 submitted by DACA have been accepted.
Now thanks to a sizeable grant from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, Meneses said DACA will be able to serve far more beyond the San Antonio area.
She said now they’ll be able to help other “Dreamers” in nine more counties, Atascosa, Dimmit, McMullen, LaSalle, Frio, Zavala, Duval, Webb and Maverick counties.
"We’re going to be very busy and hopefully we’re going to be able to do 1,000 applications this year. That’s our goal,” Meneses said.
She said in addition to processing applications, DACA will be doing more outreach.
Meneses said many don’t know they’re eligible or what is deferred action.
She also said DACA will try to counter misconceptions and misinformation.
“Perhaps that after two years when their deferred action expires, they’ll go into deportation which isn’t true,” Meneses said.
Once granted, Meneses said students will be protected from deportation, be authorized to work by getting a Social Security card, and a Texas driver’s license.
She said students and their families are responsible for the $465 application fee.
"Nothing we can do about the filing fee, but we can certainly provide the services for free,” Meneses said.
She also said students are urged to provide what is listed on the DACA document checklist.
The DACA offices at the Center for Legal and Social Justice at 2507 NW 36th St. She said intake appointments can be made by calling 210-431-5730 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.