Park City puts big money into helping undocumented students

Park City puts big money into helping undocumented students (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) The Park City Education Foundation raised $10,000 in one week to help undocumented students apply for permits that allow them to work and live in the U.S. legally.

“It’s a pathway to legitimacy for these students,” said Moe Hickey of the Park City Education Foundation.

Hickey said the goal is to raise $20,000 to help undocumented students pay for the $495 application fee for DACA status.

DACA, or Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is open to young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents when they were very young.

The guidelines say they had to arrive in the U.S. before their 16th birthday by June 15 of 2012. They also have to be enrolled in school and can’t have felony convictions or more than three misdemeanors.

Hickey said at Park City School District, the effort has always been to help every student achieve his or her highest potential.

Many undocumented students often do well through high school, but then are discouraged from pursuing a higher education because they can’t work legally and as a result, can’t afford the cost of college.

Paying for a DACA application is often a burden to many of these students and their families.

Hickey estimates 20 DACA-eligible students graduate from Park City High every year. The goal is to raise enough money to cover the application costs and the lawyers who will help with the applications, for the next four years.

“It gives them the opportunity to support their families and aspire to higher goals,” Hickey said.

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Enrique Sanchez, who graduated from Park City High in 2016, has DACA status and is now working to cover his expenses while he goes to Salt Lake Community College.

“I couldn’t have done it without DACA,” he said.

Sanchez moved to Utah from Mexico when he was two. He and his family have lived in Park City since they arrived in the U.S.

He knows or remembers nothing of life in Mexico.

At Park City High he excelled academically, was involved in student organizations and played sports. He also volunteered in the community.

He was inspired to pursue a career in law enforcement after he met and became friends with Capt. Phil Kirk of the Park City Police Department.

“I’m excited that other students will have the same opportunities, or more than I have,” he said of efforts to help other students with DACA applications.

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