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Santa Monica-Malibu School District Launches Fundraising Drive for DACA Students


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By Lookout Staff

September 22, 2017 -- The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is launching a drive to raise funds for DACA students who face a deadline next month to renew their status, District officials announced Friday.

Students who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (the formal name for DACA) must pay a $505 renewal fee by October 5 to remain protected from potential deportation if the program ends.

The City Council on Tuesday is expected to approve up to $25,000 in matching funds that would be contributed to either the Santa Monica College (SMC) Foundation’s emergency fundraising drive or “other appropriate nonprofits,” according to Tuesday's council agenda ("Santa Monica City Council Poised to Help DACA Fundraising," September 21, 2017).

The fundraising drives by the District, the City and the SMC Foundation would help what is estimated to be more than 1,000 DACA students enrolled in the college and local public schools ("More than 1,000 Santa Monica Students Could be Affected by Decision to End DACA," September 6, 2017).

Local public educators say it is uncertain how many of their students are part of the DACA program, which covers young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents.

College officials estimate that about 1,000 SMC students are undocumented, while School District officials say that nearly 1,000 are classified as English Language Learners, a potential gauge for the number of students protected by DACA.

“We are uncertain about how many students we have who are DACA recipients seeking renewal as we do not ask or record this information upon enrollment or registration,” said Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati.

“However, we want to make sure that any of our students who would like to apply for renewal are able to do so confidentially, and this process provides for that,” he said.

The District's announcement comes on the same day The California Endowment announced it is committing more than $1 million of its Fight for All Fund to help DACA students renew their applications.

The money also will be used to mount "an outreach and education campaign to make sure immigrants know where to turn for help," Endowment officials said.

The fundraising push comes after President rump's administration announced earlier this month that it intends to end the DACA program, which was approved by executive order during the Obama administration.

The White House is giving Congress, which failed to pass a law under Obama, six months to write a new immigration law to resolve the dilemma of those covered under the program. It is unclear what would happen if Congress fails to act.

As it now stands, as early as March, officials say, some of the young people covered by DACA become eligible for deportation.

As of mid-afternoon Friday, the District had received about $1,500, according to its fundraising site.


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