Garden Grove, Calif. (Aug. 15, 2016) — Monday marks the fourth anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, authorized by President Obama in the summer of 2012. With many undocumented young immigrants still not yet signed up for DACA, a new Orange County collaborative announced an expansion of free immigration services targeting immigrant families in the County.
There are roughly 1.5 million undocumented Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) currently living in the United States, of which an estimated 152,000 are eligible for the DACA program. Compared to an estimated 80 percent of eligible Latino immigrants, only 20 percent of eligible AAPIs have applied for DACA.
“Asian and Pacific Islander communities associate significant stigma and shame with the status of being undocumented”, said Sylvia Kim, Regional Director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Orange County. “There needs to be more targeted community outreach and education to help undocumented community members overcome this stigma and seek help.”
In Orange County, there is an estimated 250,000 undocumented immigrants – nearly 10% of the county’s population and second in the state to Los Angeles County. Of this, DACA affects over 50,000 individuals of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. The largest eligible Asian populations come from the Korean, Filipino, Indian and Chinese communities.
“There are still thousands of eligible undocumented immigrants who have yet to seek DACA”, said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, which has assisted with over 2,500 DACA applications since August 2012. “If you believe you or a family member is eligible, we encourage you to speak to our organization or another trusted legal or community non-profit.”
This new collaborative marks the first time that agencies in Orange County are coming together to build a stronger and sustainable infrastructure to support immigrant families for generations to come. With over 15 partners, the collaborative consists of a diverse array of community-based organizations, social service agencies and legal service organizations, such as Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Orange County (Advancing Justice-OC).
For immigrants who are undocumented or out of status, Advancing Justice offers free immigration screenings and DACA application assistance. In Orange County, individual assistance is available by appointment every first Thursday of each month from 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Although the recent Supreme Court’s decision blocks implementation of the new DAPA and expanded DACA programs, this does not affect the original 2012 DACA program. The DACA program offers eligible young immigrants a two-year reprieve from deportation, work authorization and a social security number.
In addition, Advancing Justice can provide information and assistance with other important programs for undocumented immigrants, such as drivers’ licenses (AB 60) and Medi-Cal for low-income undocumented youth (SB 75).
For appointments or more information, please contact [email protected] [email protected] org or call Advancing Justice-LA’s in-language legal helpline:
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) is the nation’s largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI). Through direct services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building, Advancing Justice-LA focuses on the most vulnerable members of Asian American and NHPI communities while also building a strong voice for civil rights and social justice.