Texas Access to Justice Foundation
Partnership Effort Will Provide Legal Services Across the State on Aug. 16, 2014 En Español
AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Access to Justice Foundation announced today that Texas DACA Day will be held on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. The goal of the effort is to raise awareness of the benefits of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) by creating a day of coordinated legal services in various locations throughout Texas. DACA is a federal policy directive, celebrating its second anniversary on Aug. 15, 2014.
DACA provides young people living in the United States more opportunities to participate fully in our society and contribute to our economy. For eligible youth, DACA may provide the ability to apply for employment authorization, social security, a driver’s license, and protections from removal. DACA is granted for a two-year period and may be renewed.
”Helping Texas youth take advantage of the opportunities that DACA offers will result in economic benefits throughout our state,” Betty Balli Torres, executive director of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, said. ”Texas will benefit by having a larger number of workforce-ready millennials, growing our tax base and local economies, and strengthening family stability.”
While there are specific requirements and documentation needed to qualify for the DACA program, a typical eligible person came to the U.S. before they were 16, have lived here for five years before June 15, 2012, and are currently in school or graduated.
Texas has the second-highest number of DACA-eligible youth in the nation, behind California. An estimated 147,000 are currently eligible statewide. Approximately 100,000 have applied; an estimated 47,000 have yet to apply. Many DACA-eligible youth have not applied due to inadequate information, lack of legal providers in rural areas, concerns of deportation, and an inability to pay the filing fees, among other reasons.
Texas DACA Day is sponsored by the Ford Foundation, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrant Refugees, Open Society Foundation, Texas Access to Justice Foundation, Unbound Philanthropy, and Univision. In collaboration with national funders, the Texas Access to Justice Foundation has provided grants to nine legal aid programs throughout the state to provide legal services for this underserved population.
The legal service providers coordinating the efforts include American Gateways; Boat People SOS; Cabrini Center (Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston); Catholic Charities of Dallas, Inc.; Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, Inc.; Equal Justice Center; Texas Civil Rights Project-Oficina Legal del Pueblo Unido; Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services; and St. Mary’s University School of Law, Center for Legal and Social Justice.
Details about events to be held in various cities throughout the state will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information, visit http://texaslawhelp.org/mydaca#.
The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (www.teajf.org), created by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1984, is the leading state-based funding source for the provision of civil legal aid in Texas. The organization is committed to the vision that all Texans will have equal access to justice, regardless of their income. The Foundation administers a variety of funding sources, which are earmarked to assist nonprofit organizations in providing legal aid to more than 100,000 Texas families each year.
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