DACA recipients face rising costs for residency, citizenship renewals

1 month 3 weeks 5 days ago Tuesday, February 27 2024 Feb 27, 2024 February 27, 2024 1:34 PM February 27, 2024 in News - Local

Prices will be soon going up for essentially all citizenship or residency fees. The price hike is also impacting those who qualify for DACA.

DACA has given many young people the freedom to work, travel and build their careers. Volunteers with LUPE say even if they renew early, they still might end up paying more.

Since 2012, more than half a million people have qualified for DACA. It's an immigration policy that gives kids brought to the United States illegally by their parent's protection from deportation. They can also apply for a work permit every two years.

Since the program started, the price has gone up by $30. Right now, it costs $495 to renew by mail or online, but starting on April 1, the new price is $555 to do it online and $605 to do it by mail.

"We receive a lot of calls from the DACA recipients asking that I can renew my DACA because the price is going to go up, can I apply already for my renewal, and no," Social Service Provider for LUPE, Hilda Patiño said.

Patiño says they help around 800 DACA recipients renew their applications every two years.

Pro-immigrant activists say it's important to keep your DACA status up to date with the new immigration laws coming to Texas.

"To be honest, I'm scared that we don't have anything legal here. Because that's the only thing that we have to work," DACA recipient Karina Hernandez said.

Hernandez was 10 years old when her parents brought her to the U.S. from Mexico. 

"It's a big, big help because I'm able to work, I'm able to have a place to live, like a car to move, so that's a big help for us," Hernandez said.

Hernandez makes sure to stay out of trouble, contributes to her community and renews her DACA status every two years no matter the price tag.

She says she's grateful she was able to renew her DACA permit before the price changed. It's already hard for her to pay a high amount every two years.

LUPE says if you want to renew early to avoid paying the new price, that likely won't happen. Immigration only takes DACA applications 150 days before they expire.

Watch the video above for the full story.

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