CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi encourages families who have undocumented immigrant children to pursue a two-year work authorization under the federal government’s policy announced last summer known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
“It is not a path to citizenship but it does provide documentation and thus removes the fear of deportation, and qualifies applicants who are granted the work authorization chances for better employment since many employers verify legality of presence in the U.S. as a condition of employment,” Kimberley Hall Seger, an immigration attorney for Catholic Charities said.
The basic requirements under the policy are that the child was under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; came to the United States before his or her 16th birthday, and has continuously resided in the United States from June 15, 2007, to the present; must currently be in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, a GED certificate or have been honorably discharged from the military; and when granted, it also allows the applicant to apply for a social security card and a driver’s license.
Seger points out myths spread about the deferred action program. One of the major impediments perceived by families is that a young person otherwise qualified is disqualified because he or she has dropped out of school. However, registration for a GED class will satisfy this requirement, Seger said. Potential applicants also worry about “criminal history.” Most traffic citations do not count against an applicant unless they involve drugs or alcohol.
Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi offers very affordable services because cost is a huge deterrent for many potential applicants. Anyone interested in finding out if he or she qualifies can call Catholic Charities Immigration Department for more information.
Catholic Charities is also willing to come to a school or organization and give a presentation on this topic and meet with persons having questions.