How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

You’re too old for deferred action – now what?

Photo by Neighborhood Centers/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A young man signs a petition during a deferred action informational event in Houston, Texas, June 20, 2010

It's been more than a month since President Obama announced that his administration would not pursue deportation for some young undocumented immigrants, instead allowing them to apply for deferred action, which would give them temporary legal status and relief from deportation.

If they meet certain criteria, including that they are no older than 30, have a clean record and have been in the United States continuously for at least five years, undocumented young people who arrived in the country before age 16 could be eligible to stay on a renewable temporary basis, and to apply for work permits. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials were tasked with creating a process to accept applications. And as the clocks ticks toward implementation in August, in spite of challenges and concerns about the lack of a permanent solution, many of those who could qualify are hopeful.

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Obama to grant 'deferred action,' work permits to some young undocumented immigrants

Photo by Corey Moore/KPCC

Undocumented students and their supporters protest in federal office building in Los Angeles, October 12, 2011

The Obama administration announced this morning that it is granting deferred action to undocumented young people who meet certain criteria, and will even give them work permits. Is it a big deal? Definitely. The move could affect hundreds of thousandsof young people who came to the United States as minors and have been unable to adjust their immigration status.

It's also interesting in terms of election-year political timing, with the Obama administration getting unfavorable reviews lately over its ongoing deportation case reviews, which have yielded relief for very few immigrants so far, just over 4,000 out of roughly 300,000 cases. And the fact that two Republican lawmakers have been floating proposals that could keep some undocumented college students and military hopefuls in the country has likely played a part also.

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