Photo by stevechihos/Flickr (Creative Commons)
Since Wednesday, young undocumented immigrants have been filling out and sending in applications for deferred action, a form of temporary legal status under a new Obama administration plan that will allow those who qualify to obtain work permits and be protected from deportation, at least for two years until they have to renew.
But for some who would otherwise qualify, the news came a little too late. Among other requirements, like having a clean record and having resided in the United States for at least five years, applicants need to have been under 16 when they arrived in the country, and must have been no older than 30 when the policy was announced last June 15.
A post last month titled "You're too old for deferred action - now what?" addressed what might happen to those who missed the age criteria, but have still been in the U.S. since they were children. The final rules were not out yet then, leaving room for a small amount of hope for these so-called "elder DREAMers," so named because they would have benefited from the original Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act introduced in 2001.
Photo by Neighborhood Centers/Flickr (Creative Commons)
A young man looks over a petition during a deferred action informational event in Texas, June 20, 2010
Starting next Wednesday, many young undocumented immigrants who arrived here before age 16 may begin applying for deferred action, a form of temporary legal status that's part of a new Obama administration policy. If approved, they can also apply for work permits.
There is a long list of criteria that applicants must meet, including that they were under 31 as of June 15, the date on which the policy was announced. Last week, Homeland Security officials issued guidelines that answered some of the questions surrounding the application process, and made the rules for deferred action applicants clearer.
But for those who don't quite qualify, even though they meet the other criteria, the news is bittersweet. Some are still clinging to hope that future adjustments could be made. A few recent posts have addressed those who don't quite qualify, particularly those who are slightly too old but otherwise meet the criteria. Following a related Q&A with Telemundo legal expert and immigration attorney Alma Rosa Nieto last month, readers have posted questions, which Nieto has answered.
Screen shot from uscis.gov
On Friday, officials from U.S. immigration and Customs Enforcement released new guidelines on that they're calling “deferred action for childhood arrivals,” DACA for short. Since mid-June, when the Obama administration announced it would allow young undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria to apply for temporary legal status and work permits, the agency has been working to formalize the application process and clear up a long list of questions.
The applications aren't ready yet, but the application period is set to start Aug. 15, a date that hundreds of thousands of young people have been gearing up for since June.
How to interpret the guidelines? Last month, Telemundo legal expert and immigration attorney Alma Rosa Nieto provided her take on how those who were either slightly too old (over 30) for the deferred action plan or otherwise almost-but-not-quite qualified might be affected, and whether there was any wiggle room. At the time, the rules were still unclear. Now that they've become clearer, Nieto revisits deferred action with an interpretation of the new guidelines.
Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC
A student activist's t-shirt, December 2010
A recent post detailed the results of a poll suggesting that while most Latino voters prefer the original versionof the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to some undocumented youths who go to college or join the military, they are divided over a slimmed-down alternative, dubbed "DREAM-light" in the report.
The original Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act proposes granting conditional legal status to undocumented college students and military hopefuls who arrived in the U.S. before age 16, with a path to citizenship. But the measure has been stalled in Congress for a decade. It was voted down in the Senate in late 2010, and the latest version introduced last year by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois has yet to advance.
In the meantime, two Republican lawmakers from Florida have introduced their own alternatives. The "DREAM-light" refers to a forthcoming proposal being floated by Sen. Marco Rubio, which would also offer these young people temporary legal status, but without a clear path to citizenship. And Rep. David Rivera has introduced two measures, including the new Studying Towards Adjusted Residency Status (STARS) Act, which would benefit undocumented students who graduate with four-year degrees, and the less-popular Adjusted Residency Status (ARMS) Act, a military-only version that would benefit those who enlist.
Source: Latino Decisions
The polling firm Latino Decisions has been tracking Latino voter attitudes in the run-up to the 2012 election for some time now, and the latest temperature check deals with what's referred to as "DREAM-light," a yet-to-be-introduced alternative to the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act that is being floated by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
The poll also checks the temperature on Latino voters' support for President Obama vs. GOP nominee-apparent Mitt Romney, although there's no surprise there: As several other recent polls have indicated, Latino voters continue to favor Obama, even in spite of Obama's recent statement in support of same-sex marriage and some Latinos' social conservatism.
But the Dream Act part is interesting, if not altogether surprising either. An overwhelming majority of the Latinos polled said they supported the most recent version of the original Dream Act, which proposes granting conditional legal status to undocumented college students and military hopefuls who arrived in the U.S. before age 16, with a path to citizenship. The forthcoming version being discussed by Rubio would also offer these young people temporary legal status, but without a clear path to citizenship, a aspect that's faced substantial criticism.