DACA app helps young immigrants apply to stay in U.S.

Immigration advocates are launching a "Pocket DACA" app for smartphones and tablets.

The app will help immigrants brought to this country as children understand the complexities of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process.

Through DACA, the Department of Homeland Security is granting two-year, renewable reprieves from deportation to young immigrants who meet certain criteria.

The free app, available from the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores, offers a self-screening tool for DACA applicants to understand their eligibility. It has a searchable directory of listings for immigration legal services providers, including nonprofit groups, in all 50 states. The app also includes links to news about the deferred action process and frequently asked questions.

Supporters hope the app will leverage the power of technology and social media to help them decide whether to apply. It also offers protection from scammers who might try to take advantage of a vulnerable population, supporters say.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association, the American Immigration Council, the Immigration Advocates Network and the Own the Dream campaign announced the launch last week.

"Our goal with Pocket DACA is to empower those who may be eligible for Deferred Action to better understand the requirements and find reputable legal help, but also to engage more deeply with potential applicants about their experiences and concerns," Matthew Burnett, director of the Immigration Advocates Network, said in a statement. A Spanish version of Pocket DACA will be available later this year.

(Contact Minneapolis Star Tribune writer Mark Brunswick at mbrunswick@startribune.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.shns.com.)

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