Articles Posted in deferred action

868517_a_driver.jpgSince June 2012 many Ohio residents have been applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an executive order enacted by Present Barack Obama that allows those who arrived in the United States as children to have a reprieve from deportation and obtain a work permit for a period of two years. Once the DACA application is approved, the applicant is issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that is valid for a period of two years. The recipient can then take his/her EAD to the local Social Security Administration office and obtain a Social Security number so that he or she may work and pay taxes. Additionally, in Ohio, a DACA recipient was allowed to obtain a driver’s license at any BMV location within the state. The Ohio BMV website provides a list of acceptable documents that can be presented in order to obtain a driver’s license. Among these acceptable documents are USCIS Documents, Social Security Card, and Employer Identification Card.

Until recently, approximately 200 DACA recipients in the state of Ohio received Driver’s Licenses by providing the BMV with the documents stated above. In January 2013 some BMV locations began denying DACA recipients Driver’s Licenses even though they had all the required proof. In the last month, all Ohio BMV locations decided to stop issuing driver’s licenses to DACA recipients. Ohio’s Administrative Code states that applicants for a driver’s license must have legal status in the United States. So the question is: Are DACA recipients considered to have legal status in the United States? Originally it was unclear whether DACA confers legal status, but recently USCIS clarified that DACA holders do have lawful presence in the United States for the two year period that they are granted deferred action.
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889854_freedom_2.jpgImmigration reform was a hot topic in the past presidential election, albeit for a short period of time. Now that the election is over, many are looking ahead to the possible changes that could be taking place. There are several areas of possible reform where immigrants are eager to see changes. These areas include, people who entered without inspection, undocumented youth, highly educated immigrants and undocumented workers.

Obviously, the most important area of reform for those without status is legalization. It is estimated that there are about 11 million undocumented people currently in the United States. It will be interesting to see how difficult any path to citizenship will be, especially how long the undocumented person needs to be in the country before they can apply for the new hypothetical temporary status and for how long they must maintain that status before they can get their green card. The new roadmap to naturalization might be a long winding one, but many will probably be excited just to have a chance to become U.S. citizen, where before there was little legal recourse available to them and they were forced to live on the fringes of society.
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918333_u_s__capitol_building.jpgLegislation was introduced in the US Senate today that would give legal immigration status to young foreign nationals who came to United States as undocumented children. The bill looks similar to the new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals introduced by the Department of Homeland Security this summer. It goes even farther as it ultimately offers permanent legal status and ultimately US citizenship.

The bill was introduced by three Republicans, Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Sen. John McCain. This shift in Republican immigration policy seems to come in response to the recent barrage from several political pundits and experts who have advised the Republican Party to reach out to the Latino community. However, it’s unlikely that Democrats will allow the Republicans to steal away their thunder on the immigration issue.
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1362246_businessman_with_the_notebook_1.jpgSecretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, announced on June 15, 2012 of the new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also called “DACA” or “Deferred Action.” This program gives certain undocumented foreign nationals permission to remain in the United States and also grants permission to work. Once granted DACA, foreign nationals should receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card.

The EAD card is enough to establish authorization to work Continue reading

caution.jpgUndocumented immigrants who are seeking help to file an application for Deferred Action for Childhood for Rivals (DACA) should avoid non-attorneys who hold themselves out as “notarios publicos,” the Spanish translation for notary public. In many Spanish speaking countries, the term notario publico is a title used for a highly esteemed professional who is licensed to practice law in a limited manner. However, in the United States, a notary public has a completely different meaning.

Many notarios take advantage of the different meaning in translation from Spanish to English to cause considerable confusion in Latino communities and mislead Latinos into believing that notaries can provide them with legal representation and legal services. On the contrary, only a licensed attorney can legally represent you and speak to the US government or in a court on your behalf.
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vote.jpgA record number of Latinos are eligible to vote this November. Both President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have taken notice and targeted Hispanic voters in recent months. However, it is unclear if the extra attention will result in voter turnout at the polls.

According to a new report by the Pew Hispanic Center, “a record 23.7 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the 2012 presidential election.” This is up by more than four million since 2008, when it was 19.5 million. There were nearly 52 million Latinos in the United States in 2011, about 16.7 % of the nation’s population. While the Hispanics make up the largest minority group in the country, the turnout rate among eligible Latino voters lags behind that of whites and blacks by significant margins.
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white house.jpgThe Center for American Progress and the Partnership for a New American Economy released a joint study which found that up to 223,000 of the 2.1 million young undocumented immigrants eligible for the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act would have an easier time enrolling, paying for and finishing college, which would in turn lead to increased economic gains for the United States. The report concludes that if undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children were given legal status, their improved access to college and better jobs would add $329 billion and 1.4 million jobs to the nation’s economy over the next 20 years.

The report provides an argument in favor of the DREAM Act, which would grant legal residency to illegal immigrants, brought to the country as children and have completed or are in enrolled in high school or served in the military. When the DREAM Act was first introduced in 2001, it was a bipartisan effort sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. It has since become more one sided. The House of Representatives passed it in 2010 with minimal GOP support, and it failed in the Senate when only three Republicans voted for it.

President Barack Obama has supported the bill and used his executive authority to give some relief to DREAMers. He created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that does not grant legal residency or U.S. citizenship but gives young undocumented immigrants protection from deportation and work permits for two years.

434537_statue_of_liberty_2.jpgNPR ran a story on Wednesday stating that 82,000 applications for deferred action have been received as of Monday. That seems to us to be a very low number, only 5.9% of the total (1,400,000) considered by most observers to be eligible for deferred action. Of those, 29 applicants, or 0.035% of the total received, have been processed and approved. These numbers, especially the first, surprised us at our firm. We had expected a much larger turnout in the first six weeks after the application process was opened. To a large degree much of our anticipation of a larger initial applicant pool was based on the high level of attention given to the newly announced prosecutorial discretion process by industry insiders: immigration lawyers, government spokespeople, social services, Hispanic organizations and the press. The relative low number of applications so far seems to point to several explanations:

  • Many potential candidates are holding off to see how the process goes for others. There is a marked distrust of government programs that seem too good to be true. Most of the potential applicants live much of their lives with their heads down, trying not to draw attention to themselves. Coming out openly and voluntarily goes against a strong sense of self-preservation. If they see it going well for others they know, they will come forward.
  • Waiting for the election. They don’t want to go through the process if Romney is going to halt and gut it. While most insiders agree that, once institute, the plan will be continued no matter who wins, that opinion is a hard sell to many illegal immigrants.
  • They are not convinced of the guarantees against punitive action against them or family members. This is similar to the first bullet point. If they see no detentions happening as a result of applying for deferred action, they will come forward.
  • Despite the anticipation prior to August 15th, word has not gotten out as well as we thought it had to a large number of potential applicants.

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1280927_ticked_checkbox.jpgThe Deferred Action for DREAMers program is expected to become available on August 15. The Program promises to grant relief from removal to certain undocumented immigrants and provide work authorization. It is anticipated that 1.4 million people may be eligible to apply. There are several things you can do to speed up your application and also improve your chances of having it granted.

Avoid notarios and non-lawyers
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congress.jpgLast Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano appeared as a witness before Congress’ House Judiciary Committee to defend her June 15 announcement of President Barack Obama’s deferred action DREAMers plan. “Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a strong and sensible manner,” she said. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case.”

Some committee members disapproved of parts of the deferred action program, including the part that would grant work authorization to undocumented immigrants. Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said the plan is a “magnet” for fraud and a “win for illegal immigrants but a loss for Americans.” Smith said that when undocumented immigrants are allowed to live and work in the United States, unemployed American workers have to compete with undocumented immigrants for scarce jobs. “With 23 million Americans unemployed or underemployed, this amnesty only makes their lives harder,” he said.
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