My friend and I are planning to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, she’s planning to use a lawyer to do the whole thing for her, but I can’t afford the lawyer since it would cost about $500. She says her lawyer is asking her to get letters of administration of the various schools she’s attended as proof that she is “useful to this country”. Is that necessary? Is that something I would get denied for? I meet all the other requirements and have no criminal record. I’m just scared that I’ll get denied for not using a lawyer and not getting letters of recommendation.
Thank you for your e-mail and trusting me with this question. I’m excited for you and your friend who are applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). I hope the applications go smoothly and both of you are granted your work permits.
Paying a lawyer to do your DACA application is not always necessary, especially if there are free DACA Legal Clinics in your area. I don’t know what state you live in but there are many organizations across the country hosting free clinics to help youth apply for DACA. One of the perks of working with an attorney is that they will be able to represent you and some may screen you first to see if you qualify for something else besides DACA. Here is a list of attorneys recommended by DreamActivist.org who are working on DACA applications at low prices ranging from $220 being the lowest and up.
When it comes to letters of recommendations, those are totally optional. By letter of recommendation I mean created by one person who knows you from way before, not one from every school you have attended. Remember that your transcripts work as proof that you were in school during that time so there is no need for recommendation letters. Here is a step by step process of how to put your DACA together. Letters of recommendation work really well for someone who is applying and has very little proof, someone who might have citations and other fines, or someone who just wants to give their application a little boost. However, more isn’t always the best way to go. Quality not quantity.
Instead of a letter of recommendation, since you have to wait for this person to write it, you can include certificates or awards you’ve won while in school. In your cover letter state how you’ve won these things and show how you’ll continue to grow and keep on doing great things. This sample cover letter will help you order your application and keep track of the things you need to include.
As long as you include everything else that is asked for, your application won’t be denied because you didn’t include a recommendation letter. If you choose not to use one, that is fine. I wish you the best of luck. Please keep me updated with your application so I can let others know about the process too!
Created on Oct 21, 2010. Ask Angy is the first undocumented youth advice column. It was born in the New York State Youth Leadership Council because there was no space to ask questions or seek advice. This blog is a space for youth to email their concerns, questions, stories or simply ask for help without being judged. Email them to Angy at Angy@nysylc.org or fill out this form.
This is a space to let it all out! You don’t have to bottle it up inside. Your stories and worries matter! You are not alone. Remember, the insecurities and fears you have, someone else is them having too. Don’t be afraid to speak out.
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