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Bridging Dreams aids undocumented

Samantha Elms, Creative Director

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Youth Policy Institute helps undocumented students gain working status through their newest program, Bridging Dreams: DACA Assistance Program.
Ever since its founding in July, Bridging Dreams has been reaching out to local schools to let students take part of this innovative program. An orientation was held at Uni on Wednesday, March 25.

The program helps undocumented students apply to DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals free of charge. DACA is not a path to citizenship but a work permit that helps undocumented individuals gain work and receive full time benefits.

Bridging Dreams helps applicants understand DACA, gather documents and fill out forms. They refer applicants to lawyers from Public Counsel, a pro bono law firm, for assistance in DACA applications.

“By being undocumented, it is really hard to work in the U.S., so having a work permit will make it easier for them to get better benefits and the career they actually want,” DACA ambassador and Uni alumni Ana Cornejo Fuentes said.

The program aids in paying for the $465 DACA application fee. Applicants can apply to scholarships or apply for a microloan.
Bridging Dreams also gives college and career preparation through workshops, as well as information on opportunities like the Dream Act.

The program is urgently reaching out to prospective applicants as it only has enough funding to aid 150 youths. These spots are limited and are mostly filled so those interested in the program must reach out as soon as possible.

To be eligible, students must be at least 15 years old, having entered the U.S. without inspection before turning 16, living in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 and being present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012.
Applicants must bring at least two proofs of identification, such as a birth certificate, a school ID, a passport. Expired identification documents are accepted. They also must have a clean record with no felonies, no significant misdemeanors and no more than three non-significant misdemeanors. Applicants with juvenile records may still be eligible.

In order to apply, at least one document for every three months of occupancy is required as proof of residency. These documents may be religious records, school records, financial records, travel records, employment records, utility bills,
lease agreements or medical records. Applicants may also use affidavits, notarized letters by individuals
who will vouch for applicants.

“If there is anyone that is interested in the program, they should contact YPI as soon as possible so that they can benefit from the program,” Fuentes said.

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The student news site of University High in Los Angeles, California
Bridging Dreams aids undocumented