On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that will go into effect today. The order is a somewhat watered down version of the DREAM Act that has never been able to get much traction in Congress. Regardless of eligibility, this is not a path to citizenship, nor is it an amnesty program.
As of August 15, 2012, undocumented immigrants, who were between the ages of 15 and 30 on June 15th of this year, will be able to apply for deferred action. There are some eligibility requirements of course and in New York State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has set up a program to help all those eligible file. You can head over to the New York State site for further explanation. Basically, it means that if meet the eligibility requirements, you may apply for deferred action and for two years you will not have removal proceedings brought against you.
Immigration law has always been rife with fraud that has left unsuspecting immigrants out in the cold with nothing to show for the hundreds to thousands of dollars they may have paid to scammers. As a community, victimized undocumented immigrants are reluctant to come forward and so the scams tend to go on and on. The New York State Program for Deferred Action seeks to ensure that all those eligible for Deferred Action are able to apply for it without getting scammed.
The State Program provides a list of immigration lawyers as well as a network of lawyers who will work pro bono. They will also investigate allegations of fraud in this area. Those who believe themselves to be eligible can check the Program site or go directly to the US. Citizen and Immigration Services site itself. You can also find an online application for the I-821D there.
It's not quite the same thing as the DREAM Act, but it will allow those who are granted this special status the ability to come out of the woodwork and find work and not fear being deported. Because this is the result of an executive order, when the president leaves office, whether in 2013 or 2017, any new president could overturn the order with one of his or her own unless Congress acts before then.
When President Obama announced the program earlier this year, critics and cynics scoffed that this was an attempt to curry favor with the Latino community in an obvious voter pandering tactic. Regardless, for those eligible, this will provide an opportunity to live free from the fear of deportation, and a chance to put to work all that they have gained from living in this country and thereby give back to their communities.
Is this something that interests you? Do you believe that this program is the move of a president pandering to a certain segment of the population? Do you think it is fundamentally unfair regardless of whether the children affected were brought to this country with no say in the matter? Do you fear that this is a way toward amnesty? What are your thoughts?