With the Oct. 5 deadline for young immigrants to apply to renew their status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a refugee resettlement center in Warren County, Kentucky has been helping some of them take this next step to an uncertain future.
The International Center of Kentucky in Bowling Green has helped 24 DACA participants apply to renew the status that protects them from deportation.
But International Center Executive Director Albert Mbanfu said these applications do not provide peace of mind for young people seeking to renew their DACA status.
“Many of come in and question if their situation will change, or they will probably want to send them back, especially considering that they have their addresses and phone numbers and everything in the hands of the federal government. So there’s a lot of worry and they express that when they come in to renew their DACA applications.”
Mbanfu said there was initial hesitation about providing so much personal information to the government when President Barack Obama initiated the program in 2012.
“The fear is even more real now that they are so uncertain with the present administration that says something today, and tomorrow they say something totally different from what they said the day before. So they are really confused and there’s a lot of fear out there.”
Mbanfu said the average age of those in the DACA program who have come to the International Center for assistance is 22.
Kentucky has about 6,000 young adults eligible for or enrolled in DACA. Nationally about 800,000 young adults have DACA status.
In September 2017, President Trump announced that DACA would be phased out in six months and left it to Congress to make any further decision on the program.
DACA protects young adults were brought to the country illegally as children from deportation, as long as they are working or getting an education.