SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A local man is raising money for DACA renewal scholarships.
Data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services shows that as of 2022, nearly 4,100 people were living in Arkansas under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
That status has to be renewed every two years and it comes with a price tag not everyone can afford.
A DACA renewal is $495 which can be a lot of money for people. It’s a status that protects undocumented immigrants from deportation and allows them to get a work permit.
Irvin Camacho created the Carmen Castorena DACA Scholarship to help people pay to renew their DACA status.
The scholarship is named after Carmen Castorena, who worked closely with Camacho as a community advocate until she died in a car accident in 2018.
Carmen was an activist and an artist.
Edgar Castorena is Carmen’s brother and says having the scholarship named after her means the world because it represents everything she worked for.
Over the past four years of doing this fundraiser, Camacho has raised more than $30,000.
He says they’re trying to reach $10,000 this year by Christmas.
Castorena says “Dreamers” are paying to stay in the country even though they are active citizens paying their taxes.
“It’s just a burden to have to be paying for that, whenever there’s everything else to be paying for in life,” said Castorena.
Camacho says those who applied for the scholarship will be notified around December 20.
If they receive it, a money order will be coming their way.
Camacho says he has already seen the success stories of scholarship recipients.
DACA is still in a limbo stage right now.
A court ruling from 2021 put a halt on new people being added to the DACA program, but the ruling also said anyone who was already granted the status can keep it as long as they are able to renew it.
For more details on how to donate and apply for the scholarship if you are in need, click here.