“Hope for DACA Recipients at The Next Door Inc.”
Esperanza came to the United States as a young child and was eventually granted temporary permission to live and work legally in the US through the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Every two years, she’s required to renew her DACA application to maintain her eligibility. And every renewal period, she faces a number of financial burdens.
Filing fees for DACA renewals cost nearly $500 per application. If Esperanza wishes to file for Advance Parole, a separate application that would allow her to travel outside of the US and legally return, she has to pay an additional $575. This does not include travel, attorney fees, or any other expenses Esperanza incurs to renew her status.
In years past, when all she could afford was the filing fee itself, she would do her best to complete the renewal application on her own. This year, however, Esperanza set up an appointment for a local DACA clinic at The Next Door Inc. (TNDI) and braved the cold, snowy roads in hopes that she could get the help she needed.
When Esperanza arrived, there were 4 TNDI employees along with 3 attorneys and 2 administrative staff provided by the Equity Corps of Oregon (ECO) who warmly greeted her. One of TNDI’s Community Health Workers provided her with information on community resources while she awaited her turn. During her appointment, an attorney dedicated their time to answering her questions, giving her legal advice, and helping her fill out the renewal application paperwork.
When her appointment was over, Esperanza tried handing the attorney a money order she’d brought with her to pay the renewal fees. She was shocked to find out that TNDI and ECO had covered all costs for the renewal, including application and attorney fees, for her and the other 24 community members helped that day.
Esperanza felt like she could breathe again. She was comforted knowing she received the help she needed, that her paperwork would be filed correctly, and by not having to endure the financial burden of renewal fees this time around.
There are many DACA recipients, like Esperanza, who need help but lack the resources or knowledge to maintain their legal status every renewal period. Some were willing to pay for a flight back to the Gorge and arrange for childcare to attend our DACA clinic simply because the costs for travel were less than the application fees. Others were highly successful professionals who contribute to our local economy in big ways but still have looming worries of renewing their DACA status.
Now through December 31st, every gift will be matched up to $42,500! Visit nextdoorinc.org/donate to double your impact today and join us in bringing comfort and joy to those in need right here in our community.
The Next Door, Inc. is a community-based social service organization with offices in The Dalles and Hood River. We serve 3,500 people annually in a seven-county region. We have nearly 100 employees facilitating over 35 programs, all working towards our mission.