There is no breakout for the Athens area, but Homeland Security says there are more than 24,000 DACA recipients living in Georgia right now. All of them face an uncertain future after March 5, 2018. Until then, local organizations are working to make it as easy as possible for them to renew their DACA registration while they still can.
U-Lead Athens is not only trying to raise awareness of the renewal process. They are also raising money to cover the $465 renewal fee. Other organizations such as The Athens Latino Center for Education and Services are connecting Dreamers to legal help.
“There are many people in the legal community that are offering their resources to assist with questions that come up and the whole filing process,” said Porter Jennings, a clinical social worker.
Jennings said that it is not a difficult process to renew your DACA, but all three forms must be correctly submitted, paid for, and received by the deadline of October 5th.
To find the forms, you can go to uscis.gov, search DACA, and click Renew Your DACA registration.
Yolanda Machado, a PhD student in UGA’s School of Social Work does research on the challenges facing undocumented Latino Families in Athens. She believes that DACA is critical for the survival of some of these families.
“A lot of the dreamers do have children and do have parents,” said Machado. “And when they are working, this income supports a whole family. So this is not like you are just going to deport this person. You are separating families probably forever.”
Porter Jennings, a clinical social worker, works with latino and spanish-speaking families and specializes in trauma. She says that the loss of DACA is being felt throughout the whole Athens latino community.
“What we’re seeing is, even if it’s families that might not necessarily directly themselves be affected by DACA,” said Jennings, “because it’s happening within their communities, it is affecting them. And so we’re seeing kids that are afraid to go to school because they’re afraid of what’s going to happen to them.”
Congress has less than six months to push forward any new legislative protections for Dreamers.