What does Carrboro's plan to help DACA recipients entail?

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The Town of Carrboro was incorporated 106 years ago, though it was then called Venable.

After a unanimous vote, The Carrboro Board of Aldermen passed a resolution on Sept. 12 to assist town residents, who are beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The Board asked the town manager to identify funds and partner with and support Durham-based El Centro Hispano’s mission to help local DACA recipients. There is currently a $495 filing fee to request DACA, which, for many, can be difficult to afford. 

If the Carrboro Aldermen were able to give the funds to the Dreamers, that would be a huge help to the families and those affected by DACA, said Eliazar Posada, the Community Engagement and Advocacy Manager at El Centro Hispano.

"DACA is what these kids cling to," he said. "That's what ensures that they don't go back into hiding."

While El Centro Hispano is sometimes able to connect DACA recipients with pro-bono lawyers and interest-free loans, there is no way to get around the $495 fee, Posada said. This is what the Carrboro resolution would provide funding for, along with spaces to meet with lawyers.

According to the resolution, one of five Carrboro residents were born in a foreign country. There are currently over 50,000 DACA recipients in North Carolina, and it remains unclear how many Carrboro residents are in need of help with filing for DACA.

“The resolution may be seen as a positive indication to residents in our community who are often very, very scared to interact with local government at any level,” said Aldermen Board Member Bethany Chaney. “We want to make it clear that they are just as important to our community life and as important to us as anyone else.”

DACA's future was jeopardized following an announcement from the Trump Administration earlier in September. 

Aldermen Board Member Damon Seils hopes the resolution will make Carrboro a safer place for its citizens. 

“(The resolution) will ensure that Carrboro is somewhat of a safe place for folks who are in a vulnerable position,” Seils said.

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