Undocumented Students in Yakima Receive Support Navigating Immig - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Undocumented Students in Yakima Receive Support Navigating Immigration Policies

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YAKIMA, WA - It's estimated that about 1.4 million undocumented students are living in the U.S. right now. In many cases, these kids were were brought to the U.S. without a say in the decision. 

And we see those numbers impacting us locally. Which is why Madison House Youth Center, an extension of the Union Gospel Mission in Yakima is working to help the young generation of immigrants through a process called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). 

"Here in Yakima, there are definitely a lot of undocumented citizens and a lot of them are students and they want to work. They want to be a part of this community but because of their legal status, they can't and so it's important for them to be able to have that opportunity. We try and provide that for as many kids as possible," said Educational Director, Gané Bourgeois. 

Applying for a DACA permit does not grant students citizenship, but it is a step in that direction. The permit grants students a renewable 2-year work permit and exemption from deportation. 

"I think that there's a lot of fear there. We have to really reassure them this is the process that won't get you in trouble. If you try to get a job illegally and you get caught, that will get you in trouble. And we're trying to keep you away from trouble in all aspects," said Burgeois. 

Madison House also works with a group of lawyers through the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project to get kids legal support. The lawyers offer their services at no cost once a week. As far as the cost to submit the DACA application, the price tag for that is $465. Madison House offers a scholarship to cover that fee.