Rhode Island announces plan to pay DACA renewal fee for every 'Dreamer' in state

Rhode Island announces plan to pay DACA renewal fee for every 'Dreamer' in state
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Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced Monday a plan to pay for all renewal fees for in-state beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

"I'm proud to announce an initiative to pay DACA renewal fees for every Rhode Island DREAMer who is eligible to apply for renewal by Oct. 5," tweeted Raimondo, who said the new plan would draw on $170,000 collected from individuals and organizations.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsIntel leaders: Collusion still open part of investigation Republicans jockey for position on immigration Biden to Alabama: No more extremist senators MORE announced he was rescinding the program, which currently protects 690,000 people brought to the country illegally as children from deportation.

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The Department of Homeland Security laid out a plan to phase out DACA in six months, allowing individual permits to run their two-year course. It also set a limit on renewal applications — DACA beneficiaries whose permits run out before March 5 have until Oct. 5 to apply for a new permit.

Each DACA application costs $495.

"We're not going to allow $495 to get in the way of our neighbors' dreams," said Raimondo in a statement. "Now is the time to fight for our values and take action against hatred and bigotry."

According to the Migration Policy Institute, there are about 3,000 Rhode Islanders immediately eligible for DACA, and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services — the agency in charge of processing applications — had received 1,460 applications from the state by March.

Since the program's official cancellation, debate has raged on Capitol Hill about a bill to replace the Obama-era program, which many Republicans consider a case of executive overreach.

Still, efforts to protect its recipients have gained steam on both sides of the aisle.

"DREAMers are Rhode Islanders. They're our neighbors, classmates, friends. We're not going to allow $495 to stand in the way of their dreams," tweeted Raimondo.