How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

'My hope is...': Five deferred action hopefuls on why they're applying, or not

deferred action bro sis

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Twenty-year-old Claudia Naranjo, right, consults with her brother, Juan, during a deferred action workshop at the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles, August 14, 2012

Over the last few days, my KPCC colleague Ruxandra Guidi and I have spoken with several young people planning to apply for deferred action, temporary legal status that will allow those who qualify to avoid deportation for two years and obtain a work permit.

The new policy, announced two months ago by the Obama administration, isn't a cure-all for young undocumented immigrants, some of whom have been here since infancy. There is no path to citizenship or permanent legal status, for starters, and there is no guarantee the program will continue long-term, especially if there is a change of administration.

Deferred action must also be renewed every two years. The requirements are strict: Among other things, applicants must have arrived in the U.S. before turning 16, have been no older than 30 as of last June 15, have a clean record and be able to prove they have been living in the United States for at least five years.