The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation is providing $100,000 to organizations across North Carolina in response to President Donald Trump ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program earlier this month.
The foundation is awarding money to groups such as the Hispanic League in Winston-Salem and the N.C. Justice Center in Raleigh, which will work with other organizations to provide clinics on renewing work permits, community education and emergency planning services to people affected by the president’s actions, the foundation said in a statement.
On Sept. 5, Trump announced that his administration would end the DACA program within six months, rescinding work authorization and protection from deportation for nearly 800,000 undocumented young people. President Barack Obama created the program in 2012 by issuing an executive order, shielding young undocumented immigrants from deportation and granting them two-year renewable work permits.
Immigrants whose legal status expires on or before March 5, 2018, will have until Oct. 5 to renew their two-year period of legal status, the foundation said. About 6,800 people in North Carolina will need to meet the deadline.
“The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation believes that immigrant communities are vital to the social, economic, and civic life of North Carolina,” said James Gore, the foundation’s program officer. “They are our neighbors, friends, and co-workers.
“The ending of the DACA program created a humanitarian crisis in our nation that immediately puts 6,800 of the 27,500 DACA beneficiaries in jeopardy of entering deportation proceedings,” Gore said.
The foundation awarded the Hispanic League $3,500 to work with El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services in Winston-Salem, which will hold renewal clinics and “Know Your Rights” workshops in the Triad. As part of its work, the Hispanic League will provide four lawyers at its Fiesta street festival Saturday at the Rhodes Center for the Arts, said Mari Jo Turner, the league’s executive director.
The lawyers will help people with the paperwork to renew their DACA status, she said.
The workshops in which immigrants can learn about their rights in the program will be held on Oct. 6 in Winston-Salem.
“We are thrilled to be part of that,” Turner said.
As of July 1, 2016, there were 47,211 Hispanics living in Forsyth County, according to the U.S. Census.
The foundation awarded $45,000 to the N.C. Justice Center to work with El Cambio NC of Yadkin County, a grassroots organization that advocates for immigrant and minority rights. El Cambio will hold renewal clinics and provide other services to Yadkin, Wilkes and Surry counties, the foundation said. The justice center will work with seven other organizations on similar projects.
The census in July 2016 shows that 7,428 Hispanics live in Surry County, 4,283 live in Wilkes County and 4,132 in Yadkin County.
Dan Moore, the center’s director of immigrant and refugee rights project, declined to reveal the location of its renewal clinics.
“We are planning several legal clinics and other community-based events, but purposefully don’t include the location information for some events that are not open to the public,” Moore said. “The safety and protection of our staff, volunteers and immigrant families is our top priority.”
Moore said that the justice center appreciates the financial support from the foundation.
“DACA has been an unqualified economic and educational success,” Moore said. “By directly helping nearly 30,000 individuals across the state, it’s been a good first step in addressing our outdated immigration system.”