New Americans Fellowship

Initiated in 2016 by the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors at the request of Board President Dave Cortese, the New Americans Fellowship provides Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients an opportunity to serve Santa Clara County’s immigrant communities and become ambassadors of DACA in Santa Clara County. ​The Office of Immigrant Relations provides full oversight and program management.

Fellows receive mentoring and career pipeline support from County leaders and from various mentoring County departments; as part of the Fellowship, participants gain transferable skills and professional development in the areas of research and policy analysis, public communication, group facilitation, and project management. They are also trained to serve as community ambassadors to improve and expand immigrant integration.

“New American Fellowship is an opportunity for Dreamers to gain leadership and career experience within Santa Clara County. This fellowship offers more than technical skills--it supports networking with other fellows who share similar experiences and with mentoring departments. We have seen Dreamers earn gainful employment, offer important recommendations to improve county processes and programs, and learn about how the county comprehensively serves the immigrant community. More importantly, we have been inspired by the fellows as they continue to learn, grow, and succeed, honoring of their families’ sacrifices and perseverance,” said Zelica Rodriguez-Deams, OIR Director.

The Office of Immigrant Relations is committed to building a welcoming, equitable and just county that supports the full potential of all residents. Within the framework of Welcoming Communities, the County created the New Americans Fellowship program for DACA recipients with skills and tools to serve as ambassadors of change and inclusion in the community. 

The New Americans Fellowship is a leadership pipeline for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients living, working, or going to school in Santa Clara County. The Fellowship is 10 weeks and offers career development and a stipend of up to $10,000 to cover living expenses. Fellows are placed in various County departments and gain transferable skills and professional development.

Who is a current DACA recipient?  

A current DACA recipient is an individual with a current grant of deferred action under the U.S. government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

DACA gives young undocumented immigrants:

  1. Protection from deportation
  2. A work permit

​The program expires after two years, subject to renewal. For more information, visit the USCIS website

*Free to low cost resources for DACA renewals provided by the County of Santa Clara is available here​.


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