Alejandra Salas was brought from Mexico by her parents when she was one year old; she grew up believing she was a U.S. citizen until she was in her teens and tried to get her first job.
“I wanted to work. I thought I was equal or the same as other students,” Salas, now 22, said. “They made fun of me, like, ‘You are an illegal, you should go back to Mexico and see if you can get a job there.’”
Alejandra qualified for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program passed by President Barack Obama's executive order in August 2012 to allow young men and women like Ms. Salas to reside lawfully in the country while a immigration reform law is worked out in Congress.
Since Salas was unemployed, she couldn't afford the $465 DACA application fee. Then she learned about the NYC DREAMer Loan Fund, which helped her and more than 50 other Dreamers to take out a loan to pay the fee.
The fund is a partnership between the New Economy Project, the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, the Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, the New York Immigration Coalition and other organizations. Candidates must pay a $20 loan process fee to receive a check that covers the DACA application and then make 12 payments installments of $38.75 each. Upon completing the payments, they receive a $25 saving bonus.
Applicants are not required to have credit record, but they must prove they have some sort of income. If they are unemployed, a friend or family member can vouch for them.
Read more at NBC Latino.