Is Your Program Prepared to Implement Deferred Action for DREAMers?
By Michelle Sardone
As August 15th approaches, here are five things to work on as you await the details of the Deferred Action for DREAMers (DAD) eligibility and application process.
This is your opportunity to educate potential clients, funders, and the community. You should be out there speaking with potential clients and discussing the criteria for eligibility and the dangers of getting legal advice from notarios. Funders need to hear what impact DAD already has and will continue to have on your program and what they can do to help. Your community needs to hear that DAD is not a permanent solution and there is still work to be done to pass the DREAM Act.
2. Engage clients now
Meet with potential DAD clients now so you can start preparing them for the application process. Establish a client relationship now by having a consultation (including charging a consultation fee) and signing a client agreement. You may need to tell certain individuals that they are ineligible and should not give money to anyone promising a good outcome. Others may be eligible for more permanent relief. There is a lot of work that can be done now to save you time in August. Your agency can start translating client birth certificates, reviewing criminal records, requesting school transcripts, and organizing other supporting documentation.
Implementing DAD successfully will require the assistance of many stakeholders. Now is the time to reach out to new groups to assist with outreach and implementation. DREAMers should be part of the process and can be volunteers in addition to clients. Education partners can assist with getting the word out to students and graduates as well as providing school documentation.
4. Use technology
Social media will be essential in your outreach to potential clients and the community. Your program should also integrate technology into client service through the use of online screening tools, case management software, and your website for updates to the community.
5. Plan things now
Take this opportunity to plan when and where you will hold DAD workshops. You should also decide on how many and what kind of DAD cases your agency will be able to accommodate. If you will not be taking all of the cases, set up a referral system now. Make sure that your current caseload will not suffer as you take on more DAD cases.
In addition, remember that as a CLINIC affiliate you have access to many different channels of support. The attorney-of-the-day hotline is there to answer your legal questions; your Field Support Coordinator is there to assist you with your program management concerns; and the Advocacy section is here to bring your individual case inquiries to and raise systemic policy issues with ICE and USCIS.