New Rights For Young Illegal Immigrants
By Ivetta Babadjanian
Aug 15, 2012 - 7:15:54 PM
WASHINGTON D.C.—As of Wednesday, August 14, those arrived in the United States as children and do not have documentation can still apply for work without fear of deportation.
Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama
The announcement was made on Tuesday by the director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Alejandro Mayorkas. "This afternoon, USCIS makes available online the forms and instructions for individuals who will request deferred action for childhood arrivals." stated Mayorkas.
Two months prior to the announcement, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano issued a statement indicating those who arrived in the United States as children can request consideration of deferred action for a duration of two years with a possible renewal, and can also be eligible for work authorization.
The program is named the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and was created in June and signed by President Barack Obama. "Deferred action does not provide lawful status or a pathway to permanent residence or citizenship," Mayorkas said.
A $465 application fee is required, which will go to the costs that administrate the program and will include a biometric check and issuance of a secure work-authorization document. The forms and more information can be found at www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.
The Pew Hispanic Center, part of the Pew Research Center, report that approximately 1.7 million youths will qualify for the program. Many Latino leaders have praised the new immigration policy. However, many Republicans do not share the same sentiment. A number of Republicans believe that the new policy may lead to amnesty and goes against congressional authority.
Obama has made it clear that this program is not a form of amnesty, immunity, or a means for immigration, but simply a "temporary stopgap measure." He stated that children of illegal immigrants "study in our schools, play in our neighborhoods, befriend our kids, pledge allegiance to our flag. It makes no sense to expel talented young people who are, for all intents and purposes, Americans."
In order to qualify, participants must have proof they have resided in the country continuously for a minimum of five years. Those under 30 who arrived in this country before the age of 16 can receive a two-year deferral from deportation and apply for work permits. They must also have no prior criminal history, along with a good academic background, or have served in the military.
Spokeswoman Laura Vazquez of the National Council of La Raza Latino group gave her approval of the policy. "In light of the congressional inaction on immigration reform, this is
the right step for the administration to take at this time," said
Many in the Latino community have been displeased with Obama due to the increase in deportations for undocumented immigrants over the past few years. It is reported that 396,906 illegal immigrants were removed by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is the largest number in the agent's history.
Latinos are the fastest-growing immigrant population in the United States and their votes are considered crucial to how the 2012 presidential election will play out.
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