A Texas university program aimed at informing and assisting young immigrants eligible to obtain a deferred action status is expanding its reach into South Texas.
An estimated 1.7 million undocumented young people in the United States are eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), according to Pew Research.
Since late 2012 the DACA Project at the Center for Legal and Social Justice at St. Mary’s University has assisted 200 people in obtaining DACA status, which puts off removal or deportation proceedings.
Adriane Meneses, a supervising attorney for the project, said they are now shifting focus outside of San Antonio and into the Rio Grande Valley and West Texas. That is possible due to a $100,000 grant from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation. Many of the undocumented in this area are unable to cross border checkpoints to make it to San Antonio.
“We’re going to conduct outreach into schools, churches and community organizations so that we can meet with people where they feel safe," Meneses said. "And they can get information about DACA and other topics from us and we can minimize their travel and their risk."
The grant will pay for three paralegals to work on the project. They hope to locate and help 1,000 new applicants.