Did you know that undocumented young people can gain work authorization and be free from being deported? Give yourself a sense of security by applying for DACA.
What is DACA?
In 2012, President Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It allows certain undocumented young people to lawfully stay in the US and gain work authorization. Since its inception, more than 650,000 undocumented immigrants have received DACA’s benefits and protection. Learn more about President Obama’s immigration relief executive action through NQAPIA’s fact sheet.
Live with Dignity, Live without Fear
When Kit was five-years-old, she and her mother moved from Korea to LA. In community college, she began to cultivate her love for community and passion for challenging institutions. She has been engaged through advocacy and organizing on immigrant rights, and she is currently an intern at her college’s Asian American resource center—but it wasn’t an easy path for her to get there.
Kit’s family kept an “open secret.”
When she wanted to volunteer at a hospital,
her mom told her to volunteer for something else.
When she wanted to travel to see family in Korea,
her mom told her that money was the primary obstacle.
When she wanted to apply for college and the FAFSA,
her mom told her she didn’t have a social security number. Although she did not know she was undocumented until later in high school, she felt the restrictions of an undocumented person navigating a broken immigration system early throughout her childhood.
Not everyone’s story plays out like that. Some people grow up knowing they are undocumented, and they live with this secret buried within them. Kit was disappointed that she couldn’t immediately go to college, but she understood why her mother chose not to tell her explicitly about her status. Kit’s mother wanted to protect her, because from personal experience, her mother understood the inhibitory fear of knowing and understanding the implications of being undocumented.
When DACA was introduced in 2012, Kit enrolled because she was eligible and able, and it opened many doors of opportunity. After receiving DACA, Kit is now eligible for substantially more scholarships than before. She can now apply to the jobs she wants to work at, and she can travel freely within the United States. Anyone who is undocumented is in a position to be deported, but with DACA, Kit can live her life without the fear of immediate deportation. Today, she is able to live life with a little more dignity—one in which she exercises more autonomy and agency.
Ready to Apply?
Learn the qualifications for DACA. Once a person qualifies, the application fee is $465 and documents are necessary to prove identity, entry, residency, and no criminal records. Free or low-cost legal assistance is available by searching NQAPIA’s legal assistance list. NQAPIA can also assist you with finding an attorney when you fill out this DACA intake form.
You are not alone. Kit says, although it may be hard to trust the government, we need to trust our communities. Share your stories and share this email with one another. You never know who may be hiding this secret and who may need your help.