A local organization is offering grants for people who would otherwise struggle to pay the fee to renew their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.

Raices, a grassroots organization in Hermiston that advocates for the needs of the Latino community, held a fundraiser at the Union Club on Saturday with 220 participants. Raices member Roy Barron said the event was the organization’s largest yet, raising more than $2,000.

DACA does not provide a path to citizenship, but it does protect undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria from deportation. DACA recipients must have been born after 1981, been brought to the country before their 16th birthday, have lived in the United States continuously since June 15, 2007, be a current high school student or high school graduate and not have any felonies or serious misdemeanors on their record.

“I feel like this is one of the few things most Americans can get behind, because these are people who were brought here through no fault of their own, and there are very stringent requirements,” Barron said of DACA.

Recipients must apply for a renewal every two years. Currently, the total fee for renewal is $495, but the Trump administration announced last fall that they intend to raise it to $765 in 2020.

Barron said that much money can be a significant financial hardship. A “scholarship,” or grant, from Raices can help cover the cost.

The application is posted on the Raices Facebook page at www.facebook.com/roots541.

Applicants must be a DACA recipient living in Umatilla or Morrow counties. The deadline to apply is Jan. 15 and recipients will be announced on Jan. 31.

Anyone who wishes to donate to the cause can send money to @raices541 via the Venmo app or $raices541 via Cash App. For more information, email raices541@gmail.com.

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