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As DACA Awaits Congressional Action, Application Deadline Approaches

Some existing DACA recipients face an October deadline to renew their documentation. Justice Department officials have said they will not extend the deadline past Oct. 5, 2017.
Dayton Indivisible For All (DIFA)

Young immigrants in the United States under a program that temporarily suspends deportation have one more week to renew their documents.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program stopped accepting new two-year applications after the Trump administration rescinded it earlier this month, giving Congress six months to decide what to do about the Obama-era program.

DACA currently permits nearly 800,000 immigrants who were brought to the country as children to legally work, get a driver’s license and attend school.

Data from the Department of Homeland Security show 9,600 DACA recipients, sometimes called Dreamers, live in Ohio.

Professor Mark Ensalaco, research director at the University of Dayton Human Rights Center, says most DACA recipients consider the U.S. home, and many have no ties to their parents’ home countries.

“They're not in trouble and they're not violent criminals -- you're talking 16, 17, 18-year-old kids who are good in school, speak English. They're tech-savvy, They're entrepreneurial, they're smart, they're innovative, they're creative, they're the future. We're losing people who are going to contribute mightily to this country,” he says.

The DACA application process requires an extensive background check. With the future of the program in jeopardy, Ensalaco says many DACA recipients are worried their personal information may be used by authorities to deport them and their parents.

In a press release, officials urged existing DACA recipients whose permits will expire on or before March 5 of next year to apply for renewal with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by October 5. 

If granted, officials say renewal requests will be valid for two years, unless otherwise terminated or revoked. Click here for more information. 

Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding America initiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.