Outreach to Immigrant Farmworkers about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals




President Barak Obama’s creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program provides a desperately needed opportunity to obtain employment authorization and protection against deportation for many people in our area. This effort centered on providing information to immigrant workers about DACA requirements and connecting them with high quality, free legal advice and representation offered through the Cornell DREAMer Pro Bono Project.


This effort was prompted by President Barak Obama’s announcement of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the creation of the Cornell DREAMer Pro Bono Project at the Cornell Law School. This effort provides an opportunity for farmworkers and other youth that arrived before their sixteenth birthday to apply for work authorization and improve their individual well-being and quality of life.


To accomplish this, Mary Jo was involved in outreach to farmworkers through individual farm visits and conducted extensive outreach for 7 legal clinics held in Tompkins, Ontario, Monroe, Wayne, Broome, and Cayuga counties. She also shared information about DACA to educators, extension professionals, agricultural employers, service providers, workers and students through university classes, teacher training workshops, CCE fruit and vegetable schools, CCE Ag In-service trainings, the Empire State Fruit and Vegetable Expo, visits of the Mexican and Guatemalan mobile consulates, and numerous meetings with service providers around the state.


This outreach effort included 52 information sessions reaching an audience of approximately 500 people. Mary Jo was involved in 7 legal clinics through which 45 people received legal assistance. Approximately 60 student and community volunteers were involved in DACA outreach and assistance in gathering information for their applications. Information about this effort appeared in the media nine times during 2013. As a result 8 DACA applications were submitted and we are still gathering the necessary documentation for several more applications. Those who have been awarded DACA status have received work authorization and are able to apply for drivers licenses.

Submitted by: 

  • Dudley, Mary Jo

Researchers involved: 

  • Dudley, Mary J
  • Betz, Heather
  • Cornell, Angela
  • Ruehle, Wally
  • Hazeldean, Susan
  • Yale-Loehr, Stephen

Organizations involved: 

  • Cornell Law School
  • Upstate Immigration Project of the Legal Aid Society

International focus: 

  • Guatemala
  • Mexico
  • United States of America

United States focus: 

  • New York