MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - For nearly a million immigrants whose legal residence is being debated and--potentially--pulled out from under their feet, the American dream is looking increasingly precarious.
In light of President Trump's plan to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that gives legal status to those people brought to the United States as children, several Minnesotans have stepped up to cover filing and legal fees for those affected.
More than $7,000 has been donated to the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota in the last 48 hours alone, helping at least 13 "Dreamers" pay for the expensive renewal process that allows them to stay in the country legally.
It's a touch of kindness and generosity that recipients like Maria Ibarra say is invaluable as her future is debated and weighed on the public stage.
"I'm a Minnesotan from the heart," said 24-year-old Ibarra, a single mother and Mexican immigrant whose DACA status was set to expire in May. "I’m like, there goes school, there goes my chance to give my son the life he deserves."
After a federal judge blocked the President's effort to end the DACA program last week, Ibarra and her attorney scrambled to submit her renewal--an arduous process that begins with a $495 filing fee. Luckily, there were a few good Samaritans there to help.
"I thought, here’s a person’s life--their future is dependent upon whether or not they can pay to file this paperwork," said Deb Vincent, one of the donors. "Wouldn’t you want someone to come to the table and help you, your child and their future? ... If people want to take issue with me on it than bring it on because I feel very strongly about protecting these children that are here that are trying to do good for the future of all of us.”
Vincent's friends and husband also pitched in, though they say it's simply a band-aid for a problem that's now in the hands of lawmakers who have floated the possibility of a government shutdown over the issue.
For more information on DACA and instructions on how to donate, visit the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota's website.