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Time running out for DACA recipients to renew work permits

SALT LAKE CITY – Thursday is the deadline for eligible dreamers to renew their DACA permits.

The Trump administration has set an October 5 deadline for DACA recipients like Leonel Nieto to renew their status. It will allow them to stay in the U.S. legally for two more years.

“When the news came in September, it was really hard for my family," Nieto said. "It was hard for all the dreamers that I know."

Nieto moved to the U.S. from Mexico when he was 11 years old.

He is one of 800,000 people living under the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals Program. The 33 year old was able to graduate from Hunter High School and the University of Utah. He now works in the IT field.

“It opened up a lot of doors for me," he said of DACA.

The administration will end the program on March 5th, 2019 unless Congress acts.

Meantime, Dreamers whose permits expire before then can renew as long as immigration offices receive the paperwork by October 5.

“It’s not a postmarked date, it’s a received in-hand date,” said Alyssa Williams, Attorney and Immigration Program Manager for Catholic Community Services.

Williams has been helping recipients renew their applications before the October 5 deadline.

“It’s been pretty steady," she said.

Many dreamers are worried about their future.

“The big question is what’s going to happen to me if this is my last DACA?”

Without this renewal, Williams says many will lose their jobs and could be deported.

“The prospect of enforcement is scary, and we don’t have promises from the administration that that deadline is gonna come and they’re not gonna move against the DACA kids," Williams said.

If you need help filling out DACA application, click here.