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Acclaimed San Francisco Chefs Hold Fundraiser To Help DACA Recipients Stay

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- A Bay Area restaurant held a benefit to help DACA recipients stay in the country.

With a deadline looming, several Bay Area chefs donated their time, preparing an eight-course tasting menu at Jardiniere in San Francisco.

Chef Sophina Uong, the chef at Mestiza, explained that the meal comes with a message for Dreamers.

"To know that they're supported. People from all walks of life support this cause," Uong said.

Chef Andrea Lawson Gray organized the benefit to help DACA recipients extend their stay in the U.S.

"For me this is a little miracle that we were able to do this," Gray said. "Out of the 800,000 Dreamers in this country, 154,000 are eligible to renew by October 5 deadline set by President Trump."

Thousands of them are in the Bay Area and many of them can't afford the fee of $495 a person.

The goal Monday night was to pay for the renewal fees for up to 20 Dreamers.

Former undocumented immigrants say it will help give Dreamers hope.

"DACA gives you a two-year permit to work and two years' safety from deportation. So to have that stripped away from you, from one day to the next, is heartbreaking and terrifying for families," said Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca, a formerly undocumented immigrant.

Dinner guests could choose to sponsor half or all of a Dreamer's renewal costs.

"There are a lot of different ways we can show our support and this is just one of them," said Darrin Brocca, a dinner guest.

Chef Traci Des Jardins, whose grandparents came from Mexico, was happy to host the fundraiser for DACA recipients.

Des Jardins, the chef and owner of  Jardiniere said, "They should have access to everything we have access to, that they're part of the fabric of our culture, and they have a place here."

She hopes they'll keep their place at the American table, thanks to community giving.

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