SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — The holiday season is here and it’s often a time that inspires people to give back and help others. An immigrant community advocate in Springdale is hoping to give back to those who need to renew their DACA status.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program allows non-citizens, who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, to stay in the U.S. That status has to be renewed every two or three years and comes with a price tag of $495.

This is Irvin Camacho’s third year raising money to help local DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers, pay this fee.

He said they’ve been able to raise about $17,000 in that time.

He named the fundraiser in honor of Carmen Castorena, who died in 2018. Camacho said she was a community activist involved in organizing the undocumented community.

He said it’s a way to keep her memory alive by changing the lives of others.

“DACA allowed people to be able to get a driver’s license for the first time,” he said. “It allowed folks to be able to get a house, it also now allowed folks here in Arkansas to get in-state tuition to go to a university or college. That just ripples and has such an impact that I’ve been able to see.”

In July 2021, a federal judge ruled that first-time DACA applicants are not allowed to apply for the program.

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate are hoping to pursue legislation to allow a path to citizenship for Dreamers in the upcoming “lame duck” session.

Click here to learn more about or donate to the 3rd Annual Carmen Castorena DACA Scholarship Fund.

Camacho said the people they select to receive these funds will get them just in time for the holidays.