Google to pay $250G in DACA fees to cover more than 500 Dreamers

Google said Tuesday it will create a $250,000 grant to cover fees for 500 Dreamers applying or renewing their applications under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The company said it has “long supported” DACA, the Obama-era program that allows people who came to the United States as children to request deferred immigration enforcement and work authorization for a renewal period of two years.

Google officials said this week they “believe it’s important that Dreamers have a chance to apply for protection under the program so that they can safeguard their status in the United States.”

“Unfortunately, DACA’s immediate future is uncertain,” Google said, referring to a U.S. district court in Texas’ move indicating that it could “soon issue a ruling against DACA and bar new applications and ultimately renewals as well, leaving countless Dreamers in limbo during this uncertain time.”

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Google said that due to “economic hardship” brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, “especially for the many immigrants playing essential roles on the frontlines,” there is concern that Dreamers cannot afford to pay their application fees.

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“We want to do our part, so Google.org is making a $250,000 grant to United We Dream to cover the DACA application fees of over 500 Dreamers,” Google said.

The company said the grant will build on more than $35 million in support that Google and its employees have contributed over the years “to support immigrants and refugees worldwide.”

Google CEO Sundar Pichair. (Getty Images / iStock)

That support also includes more than $1 million from Google employees and the company specifically supporting DACA and domestic immigration efforts through employee giving campaigns led by HOLA — Google’s Latino Employee Resource Group.

The statement added that this was “only a temporary solution.”

“We need legislation that not only protects Dreamers, but also delivers other much-needed reforms,” Google said. “We will support efforts by the new Congress and incoming Administration to pass comprehensive immigration reform that improves employment-based visa programs that enhance American competitiveness, gives greater assurance to immigrant workers and employers, and promotes better and more humane immigration processing and border security practices.”

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Google added: “Dreamers and other talented immigrants enrich our communities, contribute to our economy, and exemplify the innovative spirit of America. We’re proud to support them.”

Google’s move comes after U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis for the Eastern District of New York last month fully restored the Obama-era program after efforts from the Trump administration, which has sought to end it since September 2017.

The judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security to begin accepting first-time applications days after his ruling and ensure work permits are valid for two years.

Now-former Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf in July issued a memo reducing DACA recipients’ work permits to one year, but Garaufis had previously ruled that Wolf did not have lawful authority to serve as the acting secretary and vacated the memo.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration’s effort to rescind DACA. The court ruled that the administration’s decision to rescind it violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which sets out rulemaking procedures for federal agencies.

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In a 5-4 opinion, the court wrote that the move to eliminate the program was done in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner although it did not rule on the merits of the program itself.

Under the program, immigrants who have cleared a background check, pursued their studies and paid fees to obtain work permits can remain in the U.S.

President-elect Joe Biden has said he would push for a path to citizenship for DACA recipients.

The incoming administration plans to introduce an immigration reform bill that would grant automatic green cards to immigrants with Temporary Protected Status as well as DACA recipients, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris told Univision.

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The plan would also include a path to citizenship for millions living in the U.S. illegally.

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“It’s a smarter and much more humane way of approaching immigration,” Harris said, vowing to “expand protections” for DACA recipients, and said the incoming administration “will make sure that people receive [coronavirus] vaccines regardless of their immigration status.”

Fox News’ Morgan Phillips and Brie Stimson contributed to this report.

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