By Karla Lainez
Millions of students and parents are eagerly waiting to obtain legal status in the U.S. to find employment and continue their education with recent legislation presented by President Barak Obama. Recently a Texas federal district court judge, Judge Andrew S. Hanen, issued a preliminary injunction decision in the lawsuit brought by Texas challenging President Obama’s deferred action. What does this mean for Dreamers and undocumented civilians? The injunction will be put on a temporary block on Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of American’s and Legal Permanent Residents (DAPA). DACA and DAPA were created to allow temporary reprieves to undocumented children and parents of U.S. citizens or green card holders. People are encouraged to save up for application fees, collect necessary documents and they should be ready to apply when the block is lifted. As a documented student with undocumented family members, how can my relatives gain protection from deportation with DACA or DAPA?
1. What are DACA and DAPA?
DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. In 2012, President Barack Obama created legislation to certain people who came to the United States as minors under the age of 31 to be considered of deferred action, the ability to seek protection from deportation on a two year – subject to renewal. This also allows the ability to work, but does not provide a legal status. As for DAPA, this gives parents who have a U.S. child the ability to obtain work authorization for a period of three years and the ability to renewal their status. Families find this legislation as a sign of hope to feel safe from law enforcement, and to survive by working with legal documents. There is a risk of parents and children forced to return to their home country because of illegal status.
2. Who is eligible for DACA and DAPA?
- Under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
- Came to the United States before 16
- Resident of the U.S. since 2007
- No criminal background
- Currently attending school; has obtained a high school diploma or GED
- No conviction for a felony or more than three misdemeanors; do not pose a threat to national security or public safety
- Is a parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
- Has lived in the United States since July 2010
- Must not have any lawful immigration status since November 2014:
- Must have entered the U.S. without papers or, if you entered lawfully, your legal status must expire before November 20, 2013; and
- Must not have a legal status at the time you apply
- No conviction of criminal offenses, including any felonies or misdemeanors
3. How to Apply?
According to the United States Citizenship of Immigration Services, they’re unable to accept any applications due an injunction. However, they encourage others to collect all proper documents and gather application fees as soon as there is a decision in the ruling.
- Due to a federal district court in Texas putting a temporary order that puts both programs on hold you cannot apply yet.
- However, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are allowing individuals to submit request or renewals of DACA/DAPA
- Bring proof of Identity, birth certificate, school or military photo ID, any us government immigration photo.
- Proof of immigration status
- Proof of residency in the U.S.
- Proof of student status at the time of requesting DACA
4. The Process
- Since a Texas district court put a temporary hold on the legislation, it’ll be very tough to have an application fulfillment.
- File updated forms
- USCIS will reject if you fail to submit forms and pay the application fee of $465
- Mail forms to USCIS
- Visit and Application Support Center for biometric services
- Check your status online
How long can continued undocumented students who continue to strive in their education wait for the injunction to be overruled in order for students and parents to feel safe in the country they now call home?
It’s unfair for people who have made contributions to the U.S. to be oppressed and not given the chance to create a better life for themselves. An injunction, a court order, a temporary hold is being allowed to stop from innocent people obtaining to continue to go to school and get better jobs or create businesses.
5. DACA and DAPA benefits
Undocumented students who are protected by DACA will have the privilege of obtaining higher education, obtaining employment with no fear or stress deportation. Students will also be eligible to apply for Free Application Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), making them eligible for Pell grants and to pay for in state tuition.
This will make financial obligations easier for students. As a student I know paying for in state tuition with Pell grant is great! I know it’s helpful and every other students striving to continue high education for themselves and family should be given the privilege the same as myself.
Adults who have residency in the U.S. who have citizen children, but with no legal status should also have the privilege of working without worrying about being taken away from their families. Given work permits will allow families to come out of poverty, and help obtain health insurance and prepare for retirement.