LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Obama-era DACA program will reach its 10-year anniversary this week, and as part of the milestone, dozens of scholarships are up for grabs to help the so-called “dreamers” further their education.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has helped thousands of undocumented immigrants over the past 10 years, and now the Mexican Consulate in Las Vegas wants to help.
For one local dreamer, that helping hand could mean a college degree.
“Every little amount of money is very helpful because it pays for my school or my transportation,” said 22-year-old dreamer Daniel Lara.
Lara works hard every day to achieve his dream of becoming a college graduate, which he said is difficult to obtain because of his legal status.
“I needed a job that was legal and I wanted to apply for higher education. I couldn’t do that without any legality in the country,” he said.
Lara is one of the estimated 11,000 beneficiaries in Nevada enrolled in the DACA program, according to the Las Vegas Mexican Consulate.
The Obama-era initiative provides legal status and work permits for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. As the program reaches its first decade in existence, more help is on the way.
“Many undocumented youth don’t have access to financial assistance, and we have a scholarship program which is open for applications,” said Consul of Mexico in Las Vegas Julian Escutia.
Up to $2,500 will be awarded to an estimated 50 DACA winners to further their education thanks to private donations — funds that Escutia said can go a long way with limited to no resources.
“They don’t have access to financial assistance. There are no federal or state programs for them,” he added.
Since 2017, Lara has taken full advantage of the benefits of the DACA program. Although DACA has no path to citizenship, he said his education is priceless.
“If one day they decide to take DACA away, then I can’t go to work anymore, and I can’t go to school anymore,” Lara said.
Applications for the scholarship are now open, and winners will be announced Aug. 10. To apply, visit this link. The deadline to apply is July 15.