Julio César-Chávez / Tejano Tribune
Attorney Danny Razo explains how students can benefit from the DACA program and explores other concerns placed by immigrant students.
On Oct. 22, El Paso Community College hosted a workshop that was open to the public to discuss the benefits of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Back in June of 2012, President Obama announced that certain undocumented young individuals would not be deported if they were brought in to the U.S as children.
Since August 2012, the government has been accepting applications for the DACA program. Immigrants who meet certain criteria are referred to as DREAMers.
“Many students don’t realize that they are eligible for the DACA program,” said Michelle Martinez, immigration attorney who was answering questions at the workshop.
“We set up this workshop with the intention of spreading the knowledge of its benefits to students so that they can take advantage of them.”
The DACA program gives DREAMers the temporary opportunity to stay in the country and also provides a two-year work permit that can be renewed when expired.
This program, however, doesn’t secure youths with permanent residency.
In just El Paso, there are about 15,000 undocumented students qualified to apply for DACA.
They also discussed the TheDream.US Scholarship and how it ties to DACA.
“TheDream.US Scholarship is unique because it specifically allows students who are undocumented to receive scholarships that they otherwise might not be able to afford,” said Danny Razo, another immigration attorney who was the workshop.
“Students who are in the DACA program are able to apply for it.”
EPCC is one of the 12 community colleges in the nation to offers the mentioned scholarship.
The TheDream.US Scholarship is available to high school seniors, high school graduates who are first-time college students or at least have no more than 12 college credits (not including dual-credit courses), and students attending EPCC who demonstrate financial need to complete their education.
High school students must have maintained a GPA of 2.5 or greater and college students a GPA of 3.0 or more.
“Our goal is to give undocumented students the chance to complete college without feeling deterred due to the financial costs,” Razo said.
Over the next decade, The Dream.US Scholarship will likely provide over 2,000 driven, low-income students the opportunity to graduate with career-ready degrees.
For more information about the DACA program, call 831-2106.
For more information about The Dream Scholarship, visit www.thedream.us/scholars.