Supplied by Tony Best
“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
William Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet, 1595
You shouldn’t be put off by bureaucratic sounding names.
One such example is “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.”
That’s the official label the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has given to a very important and worthwhile initiative launched by President Barack Obama on August 15. It’s the program that offers many young undocumented immigrants across the land a realistic chance to escape the shadows of illegal immigration by beginning the first step that eventually may lead to legal status.
And if you are living in New York as distinct from Arizona, you should seize the opportunity to request the deferral of deportation so that you can complete your education or training and secure a driver’s license, a crucial piece of identification that in many ways would allow you to sleep well at night or venture out into the job market to get decent paying employment.
As the name suggests, the initiative is really for undocumented young people, those who entered the U.S. before their 16th birthday; resided continuously in the country for the past five years; are under the age of 31; served in the military; don’t have a criminal record or didn’t commit a significant misdemeanor; or if you are currently in school, have graduated; competed high school or were honorable discharge from the military or the Coast Guard.
Both New York State and the City are strongly supporting the president’s initiative by putting resources into efforts to eliminate fraud by so-called “consultants” and unscrupulous legally trained scammers who see an opportunity to rip you off. Thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the City and state government are leaving not stones unturned to help you avoid the scammers and to make the process easier for eligible immigrants to get the relief the president is offering.
To avoid the clutches of the tricksters here are some things you should know:
• There are about three forms you must complete – I-821D; I-765 with fee of $380s; and I765WS. In all, the fees amount to almost $800.
• It can take about 90 days to be informed if you are successful in requesting the deferral.
• IF rejected there is not automatic right of appeal.
• Although the Department of Homeland Security isn’t planning to submit any information about your whereabouts to immigration enforcement agencies, if you are a convicted felon and seek the exemption, you may expose yourself to extra scrutiny.
• There isn’t a guarantee that the special initiative would survive a change of administration in Washington.
• If deferred action is given, young may apply for permission to leave and return to the country.
• In New York or California, you can use the deferred status to apply for a driver’s license.
• An unsigned letter requesting deferment in a foreign language would result in a denial of the request.
• Anyone guaranteeing acceptance is a scammer.
Be careful! If you live in Arizona don’t expect to be able to use acceptance to get a driver’s license. Governor Jan Brewer has already directed state agencies to reject applications for driver’s licenses and welfare benefits. What a pity!