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Massachusetts Companies Donated $65,000 to Help DACA Applicants Pay Fees

The money will help "Dreamers" renew their work permits.

Photo via AP

As donors around the country are pitching in to help pay people’s DACA renewal fees before an October 5 deadline, The Boston Foundation announced Tuesday it’s helped raise $65,000 to do the same in Massachusetts.

The funds—contributed by Eastern Bank, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Arbella Insurance—will support young “Dreamers” who are allowed to renew their permits to work and study under the imperiled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by October 5, the date at which the Trump administration says it will stop processing applications. Of the estimated 8,000 DACA recipients in the state, the foundation says “several hundred” fall into that category and could have their fee of $495 paid for them.

“At The Boston Foundation, we devote our resources to building and sustaining a prosperous city and region. That prosperous city is reliant upon the thousands of dreamers who call Massachusetts home,” says Paul Grogan, the foundation’s president, in a statement. “We’re grateful to our corporate partners and the City of Boston for their swift action in joining with us to provide relief for DACA renewal applicants.”

The $65,000 donated by the companies will be disbursed to local nonprofits and “will facilitate grants to the community organizations assisting renewal applicants,” the foundation says in its statement. Now, it says, the search is on for other donors to help.

The gift comes as donors around the country have been contributing to state- and nationwide funds to help pay the pricey fees, which can be burdensome for young people using DACA protections who are in school or working low-wage jobs. In Rhode Island, donors gave a total of $150,000 to a DACA fee fundraiser. In Washington State, an anonymous donor pitched in $125,000 for residents in that state. The group United We Dream launched a nationwide DACA fee fundraiser that brought in a reported $500,000. Another initiative, the San Francisco-based Mission Asset Fund, says it raised more than $2.5 million from donors and can help 5,000 people pay their fees.

Of course, filing fees are not everything that DACA recipients need right now. They need Congress to act to preserve their protected status, which the White House announced this month would be rescinded over the course of six months. Democrats announced in mid-September they’d reached some kind of deal with Trump to protect “Dreamers” in exchange for enhanced border security. Republican Senators unveiled a bill on Monday that would give “Dreamers” a so-called “pathway to citizenship.”

But, in the meantime, consider the money a show of financial support for people who were brought here illegally as children more than a decade ago and could soon face deportation.

“We know how important DACA has been for thousands of Bostonians,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says in a statement cheering the announcement, adding that the funding “will go a long way in helping these Americans, their families, and their employers maintain stability until a real solution is achieved.”


Spencer Buell Staff Writer at Boston Magazine sbuell@bostonmagazine.com