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Dreamers host gala to celebrate first year of Deferred Action



Diana Iglesias, Florida Immigrant Coalition786-505-1255diana@floridaimmigrant.org

Frida M. Ulloa, Students Working for Equal Rights305-450-0280fridau@swer.org

South Florida youth immigrant organizations seek sponsors for DACA Gala Saturday, June 15

Miami, Fla. – Organizations supporting undocumented immigrant youth announced a DACA Gala to celebrate the first year of the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.

The DACA Gala benefit dinner will commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security program on June 15, 2013 at the Florida International University (FIU) Graham Center Ballroom from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Event co-hosts FL DREAM and Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER) also created the event as part of a fundraising drive to raise $20,000 for a DACA Mini-Grant fund for low-income applicants.

Jose Diaz, manager of FL DREAM, said in a statement: “In the course of hosting our 22 free immigration clinics since August 15, 2012, we started to come across the reality that most DREAMers who came to us could not afford to pay the application fee for DACA.  After having helped over 1,500 DREAMers, we created a DACA Mini-Grant fund to help DREAMers pay the application fee.”

FL DREAM is a coalition of South Florida organizations that have been hosting free immigration legal services clinics for low income DREAMers who cannot afford to hire an attorney to review their DACA application process.  The coalition is composed of the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER), DREAMers’ Moms and the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic at FIU College of Law.

Alicia del Aguila of SWER remembers the morning she heard about DACA.  “Last year June 15th, 2012, a few people from Florida woke up to multiple text messages about a possible reform for undocumented kids,” del Aguila said.  “The announcement of DACA was one of the biggest victories for immigrant communities.  Personally, I didn’t believe it until it was spoken on TV.”

DACA has helped over 240,000 individuals in the U.S. since its announcement in June 2012 by granting recipients relief from deportation, a two-year legal stay and providing a social security number.  Dreamers who receive deferred action documentation often call themselves ‘DACAmented.’

“I am still waiting for mine,” del Aguila said.

Organizers of the DACA Gala will recognize volunteer contributions to the cause of helping DREAMers with the DACA process, run a silent auction of activism works by artist Favianna Rodriguez and raise funds through ticket sales and sponsorships.  FL DREAM will leverage help for DACA applicants from sponsor and individual donations of $465 and above.  Tickets for the dinner and silent auction event are available for $15.

For information on the DACA Gala and tickets, log on to http://tinyurl.com/DACA-Gala-2013.

The DACA Gala is sponsored by Dreamers Education Initiative- Kaplan, Inc., Bridge Project, artist Favianna Rodriguez, SWER (Students Working for Equal Rights), FL DREAM, Florida Immigrant Coalition, and DREAMers’ Moms.