Catholic Charities offers legal assistance to young immigrants
by Mary Cottingham, South Texas Catholic
August 29, 2012
What Are The Required Documents For Filing Deferred Action?
When you file for Deferred Action you will need to provide documentation that proves that you qualify.
To demonstrate that you came to the United States before you were 16, that you have lived in the United States for five years and that you were in the United States as of June 15th, 2012 you will need
• Financial records,
• Medical records,
• School records,
• Employment records or
• Military records.
To show that you are in school, graduated, in the military or were honorably discharged you will need
• GED certificate,
• Report card,
• High-school transcript,
• Report of separation form,
• Military personnel record or
• Military health record.
Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi, Inc. is offering legal assistance to about 100 young immigrants applying for “deferred action” at the Healthy Living Center on 1125 S. Port.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) is a new policy that was issued by the executive branch of the government on June 15. It will allow some undocumented people to remain in the U.S. temporarily without fear of deportation.
According to Attorney Carrie Chavez Thompson, Director of Immigration & Refugee Department at Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi, Inc. “the most polite, articulate young people are registering. Some are students enrolled in High School, Del Mar College or Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi. They and their parents work hard, sometimes holding down two or three jobs,” she said.
“They are ambitious and excited about the possibility of becoming [legally] employed. They have so many obstacles, but they still keep going. They want to be here without having to worry about being deported.”
The program will allow qualified individuals to register with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), receive employment authorization and a temporary (two year) reprieve from deportation. Deferred action would make these youth eligible for a work permit, possibly a driver’s license and social security card.
According to the Department of Homeland Security website, http://www.dhs.gov/deferred-action-childhood-arrivals, “information in the applications is protected from disclosure to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, except if the applicant meets certain Notice to Appear criteria. That applies to people who have been convicted for crimes, and other situations.
To qualify an individual must:
- Have entered the United States when you were younger than 16 years of age;
- Have been in the United States for five years prior to June 15, 2012 (small trips outside of the United States for humanitarian reasons won't impact this requirement);
- Be older than 15 to apply;
- Not be older than 30 years of age;
- Have either graduated from a high school or equivalent, enrolled in school or are a veteran of the United States military;
- Submit to a background check and have a clean record without felonies, misdemeanors (other than maybe one or two small misdemeanors), or any evidence of you being a threat to the country.
“Some of them are nervous, they know this is temporary and we hope it continues. It would be unjust to deport such a huge segment of the population brought here because their parents wanted them to have a better life.
Thompson said that there is no timeline yet on when applicants will receive their new status or no cut off date on applying. She thinks they will be available for about two months. She warns applicants against going to public notaries (notaries) or unscrupulous attorneys.
“For many the excitement out weighs the nerves. I tell them there are no guarantees, but I do believe the government wants to turn their focus on drug and human traffickers or violent criminals. In my opinion it would be just too inhumane to deport such a huge number of promising people,” Thompson said.
Now scheduling appointments and consultations for individuals wishing to apply or learn more about Deferred Action Contact Carrie Chavez Thompson, Director-Immigration & Refugee Dept. at Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi, Inc. by calling (361) 442-2224 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Catholic Charities charges a nominal fee for their services.