Minneapolis Foundation to help cover legal fees for young immigrants

Young immigrants in Minnesota hoping to apply for "Deferred Action" from the federal government to prevent deportation may get some legal help.

The Minneapolis Foundation has launched an initiative — which it to be the first in the country — to help cover legal fees for young people eligible for "Deferred Action."

The federal program will allow those who qualify a chance to stay in the U.S. legally for two years and avoid deportation.

The DREAMer fund will cover the legal costs for an estimated 850 young people in Minnesota.

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Luz Maria Frias of the Minneapolis Foundation said the fund has raised $200,000 so far, with a goal of $500,000.

"The DREAMers fund is intended to spark a response by the larger community to help pay for the legal services fees for low-income DREAMers that want to pursue the relief that President [Barack] Obama announced on June 15, but can't afford to do it on their own," Frias said.

The DREAMer fund will work with the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota to provide $2,000 to $4,000 in pro-bono legal help for each applicant, and present informative sessions around the state.

"The big part of this is having the community at large really take into consideration the importance of having these youth become part of our economy, by way of being eligible to work here and secure employment," Frias said. "It goes to the issue of poverty as well. They will now have more members in the family earning wages and being able to contribute to the household income."

An estimated 2,100 to 4,000 young people in Minnesota could be eligible for the Deferred Action program.