Qualified recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) may receive assistance to pay for their USCIS filing fees through Memorial Assistance Ministries’ (MAM) Immigration Legal Services Program, made possible by a $4,950 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation. The grant helps young people brought to the United States illegally as children pay USCIS filing fees to obtain legal work authorization. The clients who qualify for DACA renewals at MAM fall at or below 250% of the US Federal Poverty Guidelines.
“We are tremendously grateful for this support from The Texas Bar Foundation,” states Sonja Gee, MAM President and CEO. “Their investment in MAM and our immigrant clients allows us to serve the most vulnerable families in our community.”
MAM clients come from a wide variety of backgrounds. “We recently helped a client file for a DACA renewal, and the postal service delivered her work permit to the wrong address,” said Paola Copeland, MAM’s managing attorney. “She was so discouraged. To replace the work permit, USCIS required her to pay the $495 fee again. She could not afford to pay the fee a second time, so she decided to wait a year to refile for a work permit while she renews her DACA status. With the help of the grant from the Texas Bar Foundation, MAM will be able to help clients who have difficulty saving the funds to pay USCIS filing fees.”
MAM’s Immigration Legal Services Program began in 2013, offering low-cost services to the growing immigrant population in northwest Houston. It provides information, education, and legal assistance on a variety of matters, including family-based petitions, renewal of lawful permanent resident cards, naturalization/citizenship applications, and humanitarian-based petitions for crime victims. Additionally, this program helps with DACA renewals for young people to remain in the United States, legally work and attend school.
MAM has provided assistance, resources, and hope to individuals and families in the community since 1983. Its primary goal is to help families become financially stable. For more information about MAM or the Immigration Legal Services Program, please visit www.mamhouston.org/legal.
Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $21 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation's largest charitably-funded bar foundation.