South San Francisco, San Bruno and Redwood City businesses are joining others throughout the Bay Area in donating a portion of their sales through June 30 to support undocumented youth known as DREAMers through the “Reach The Dream” program. The fundraising campaign will help supplement the cost of applying for work authorization under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
An estimated 60,000 DREAMers will benefit from the effort, as businesses push toward their goal to raise $50,000 during the campaign. The program is sponsored by Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research and Action, or TIGRI, in Oakland. TIGRI’s “Reach The Dream” program aims to raise awareness about the DACA at a time when the immigration debate enters a crucial phase.
TIGRI was established in 2005. It supports immigrant families and believe in strengthening them economically. They’ve brought the conversation about Asian and Latino purchasing power, which is about $3 billion in the past year, to the forefront. Regardless of the status, documented or undocumented, TIGRI believes that there are smart economic choices individuals can make. “Reach The Dream” is their first public statement saying that within immigrant communities we can support actual local small businesses that are supporting us. “This is our way of uplifting responsible businesses in our community,” said Leo Esclamado of TIGRI. “We have socially responsible standards to encourage business owners.”
One of the main barriers for immigrants not applying for the DACA is the cost of the application. Prices range from $400-$1,000 depending on an individual’s case. All applicants must be reviewed, and the cost can fluctuate if there is more than one child in the home, and also if a person has been in the United States for a certain period of time. After President Obama announced deferred action last year, TIGRI was one of the first groups to partner with legal clinics and churches for an information session on DACA application preparation. It has also developed a project where house meetings are arranged to discuss and encourage immigrants to begin the application process. There is an ongoing fear within the immigrant community to sign government issued forms. TIGRI has also established The Dreamer Solidarity Network, which is a mentorship program where individuals who have already applied for or received documentation can help those who haven’t.
“Hopefully, this campaign will be a catalyst to support the national discussion,” said Esclamado. “The economic lives of immigrant families are tied to businesses.”
TIGRI has gathered several businesses throughout the Bay Area including El Patio in San Jose, Morocco’s Restaurant in Mountain View, Patio Filipino in San Bruno, Café Gabriela in Oakland, Kadok’s in San Francisco, Fort McKinley Restaurant in South San Francisco, La Casita Chilanga in Redwood City, Mezcal in San Jose, Pasta Pomodoro in Union City, Tribu Grill in Union City, Pulutan in Daly City and Seafood City in Union City, Concord, Milpitas, Vallejo, San Jose and Sacramento.
South San Francisco’s Fort McKinley will host the Global South Street Food Fest on Sunday, June 30.
“I was once an immigrant that had a dream and now that I’m living my dream, it’s time to pay it forward and help other immigrant families fulfill theirs,” Barry Picazzo, owner of Fort McKinley, said in a prepared statement.