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Dreamers racing to renew documents as president unravels DACA

Texas is home to a high population of immigrants, and a portion of them gained documentation to reside in the United States legally under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Collectively known as Dreamers, these young people currently face uncertainty and the future threat of deportation because the Trump Administration plans to remove the protections for people brought to the country as children without documentation. Many of them are striving to gain renewals of their DACA privileges, but the $495 filing fee and the frequent need for legal advice raise barriers.

Grassroots organizations, many of them run by Dreamers and student organizations, have been working hard to provide legal and financial assistance. Online crowdfunding campaigns have played an important role in raising funds. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency has 21,000 DACA requests pending. This represents only a small portion of the almost 700,000 people nationwide who could lose DACA protection and be forced out of the country.

Unclear deadlines and complicated filing requirements continue to thwart people trying to renew their documentation. Congress has not made any clear decisions about DACA, and two federal courts have stalled the dissolution of the program ordered by Trump.

A person confused by this chaotic situation might seek advice from an attorney before approaching immigration authorities. An attorney may strive to identify the tenets of immigration law that support the person's desire to renew a visa or fight removal proceedings. With legal representation, a person might receive support that enables the submission of a complete application. An attorney may also be able to challenge denials from immigration authorities and manage an appeal as a person continues to pursue a legal status to remain in the country.

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