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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 23, 2013 CONTACTS: Ellen Dumesnil edumesnil@iibayarea.

org 415-538-8100 x215 Non-profit immigration legal service providers throughout the greater Bay Area have banded together to form the Bay Area DACA Collaborative; a multi-agency effort working to ensure that significant numbers of undocumented immigrant youth have access to the historic benefits provided by the federal policy directive of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). On June 15, 2012 the Department of Homeland Security announced this unprecedented policy that grants temporary resident status and employment authorization to certain undocumented youth who were brought to the United States as children. Over 60,000 potentially DACA eligible youth reside in Bay Area1 and, to date, nearly 110,000 young immigrants living in California have submitted applications to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). I feel like I have a future now, said Manuel, a DACA approved student who received immigration legal services from a participating agency. I finally have my drivers license and feel that I can continue to pursue my degree knowing I might be able to get a job in my field. Access to DACAs benefits is not automatic. It is contingent upon young immigrants being aware of and successfully navigating what can be a complicated process. Unauthorized individuals claiming to be legitimate immigration experts continue to target immigrant youth, making false promises and charging exorbitant fees for bogus legal services. In an effort to ensure young people receive quality legal assistance, and avoid potentially serious complications, members of the Bay Area DACA Collaborative have scheduled community informational sessions and application assistance workshops throughout the region. To date, many individuals who have come forward and received an immigration legal screening have discovered they are eligible for DACA or, in some cases, for more permanent immigration remedies. There is so much misinformation out there about DACA and immigration law in general said Sheryl Muoz-Bergman, Director of Programs at the International Institute of the Bay Area, therefore, its important that anyone interested in applying for, or learning more about DACA take advantage of the fact that quality immigration legal service providers are available to answer questions and offer advice for free or at minimal cost. For more information about DACA, or to find legal services, clinics or workshops near you, please visit: www.WeOwnTheDream/events.

Estimates based on 2010 Census data