Funds still available to help LGBT DREAMers with application fees

Lucy

Lucy, a DREAMer from Oak Cliff, applied for documentation through DACA.

In conjunction with President Obama’s executive order allowing DREAMers to apply for work documents, the National Center for Lesbian Rights set up a fund to help people pay the application fees for LGBT applicants.

“These young people are an important part of the LGBT community, and we knew we had to find a way to give them a hand,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “We are thrilled that so many LGBT organizations across the nation stepped up to help.”

The fee is $465, which can be an obstacle to DREAMers and their parents who have not been able to obtain work legally. In September, we wrote about one DREAMer from Oak Cliff, Lucy, who applied for her documentation the first day she was eligible.

DREAMers are defined in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals as those who arrived in this country with their parents under the age of 16, have lived here continuously for at least the past two years and are under the ago of 31.

About four dozen LGBT organizations across the country have contributed more than $100,000 to the fund that is being administered by Liberty Hill. About 160 people have already gotten documentation with help from the fund and there’s enough money to help at least 40 more. DREAMers may apply for assistance here.

DACA is especially helpful to LGBT DREAMers who have no other way to obtain documentation. Straight DREAMers often obtain a green card and a path to citizenship by marrying an American citizen, something not available to LGBT DREAMers even in states with marriage equality.

—  David Taffet

Homeland Security will take up to 60 days to draft rules to implement new immigration order

"Dreamers" at the 2010 Mega March in Dallas.

Since issuing an immigration policy change that will disproportionately help gay and lesbian youth, Homeland Security has not established any application procedures. Prerna Lal, a Northern California attorney, Immigration Equality board member and co-founder of the Dream Activist Movement, said the process has not started yet. She said the government has 60 days to issue rules.

“Dreamers” are those who were brought illegally to this country and do not qualify for citizenship. Many heterosexuals who came to the U.S. as children obtain green cards and citizenship by marrying someone of the opposite sex. Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, gays and lesbians do not qualify for residency this way.

To qualify, a person must be under the age of 30, entered the country under the age of 16, lived in this country continuously for the past five years, have a high school diploma, be in college or have military service and no criminal record.

Until policies are established, Lal advised those who qualify to get their paperwork in order.

According to the Homeland Security website, financial records, medical records, school records, employment records and military records will all help establish residency. Each person will have to pass a security check before receiving the document that will be good for two years before being renewed.

According to a member of the group QUIR Dallas, some local Dreamers started getting documents notarized last Friday to establish residency at that time. QUIR — Queer Undocumented Immigrant Radicals — is a new group based in Oak Cliff dealing with this and related issues.

Lal advised those who do not have a passport to get one from their country of origin to establish their identity.

—  David Taffet