Our First Deferred Action Approval!

On August 15, 2012, USCIS implemented President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program designed to allow qualifying applicants the right to live and work in the United States without the fear of deportation.

News of the program was met with hope, relief, and an understandable amount of distrust as hundreds of thousands of undocumented childhood arrivals, young adults who have lived most of their lives in fear and calculated anonymity, were suddenly being encouraged to step forward and present themselves to the very institutions they have been taught to avoid.

As immigration attorneys, we have the difficult task of convincing our clients that this program is real and worth the risk. Today, we are happy to report that we have received our first Deferred Action approval. This approval is believed to be the first in Washington State, and one of the first 30 in the United States.

We are so proud to say that we were among the first to have an application approved. But we are more pleased to know that at least one human being can finally step out of the shadows that loom so ominously over those who work and live here in the U.S. without status, and face the day without the shackles of fear.

Deferred Action is a great opportunity for qualifying applicants, but it is in no way complete. Hopefully in some small way, this approval and the many more to come will serve as a stepping-stone towards a more permanent solution to our ailing immigration policy.


¿Quién va a calificar?

El anuncio del Presidente Obama de hace unas dos semanas es algo que va a cambiar las vidas de muchos inmigrantes aquí en los Estados Unidos. Hace falta todavía un cambio más concreto que daría un camino hacia la ciudadanía, pero de todas maneras el anuncio señala un paso en la dirección debida. 

Desde el anuncio, muchos han venido a la oficina para preguntar si calificarían bajo el nuevo programa. La migra todavía no ha publicado instrucciones especificas en cuanto al proceso de aplicar, y algunos detalles no se quedan muy claros, pero por el momento parece que los que los que califican son–

Los que llegaron con menos de 16 años

Que llevan por lo menos 5 años aquí 

Que tienen “buen carácter moral”

Que tienen menos de 30 años

Que están matriculado o que han sacado su titulo del “high school” o su GED (un examen que equivale un titulo) 

Obviamente hay muchos que por muy poco no califican. Eso quiere decir que hace falta todavía organizarnos para demandar la aumentación del programa. Los que si califican van a poder evitar la deportación y sacar un permiso de trabajo de dos años. Después de los dos años, debe poder renovar el permiso. 

Si tienen más preguntas acerca de este programa, no dude en contactarme. 

The President’s Announcement

Yesterday the President delivered some exciting news about DREAM Act eligible young people in the United States. According to the President, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will stop the deportation of young undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria. Those who qualify will also be allowed to apply for a work permit. Here are a few important details to keep in mind: 

  • Immigration still has 60 days to release the details on how they want to proceed with this policy change. Beware of any service provider who claims they can get you a work permit right away. 
  • This is not a new law, but rather a change in prosecution priorities. Young people still do not have a right, per se, to receive work authorization. 
  • This policy change does not provide a pathway to residency or citizenship. As the President admitted, it is a temporary fix. 


Stay tuned for more details . . . 

Conozca Sus Derechos

Hoy leí en el periódico local el Yakima Herald que los agentes de ICE (“la migra”) se han puesto más “agresivos” últimamente en su búsqueda de inmigrantes no documentados aquí en el valle. Mientras dicen que su enfoque está en los que tienen felonías o una historia criminal muy larga, sabemos que los inocentes fácilmente se pueden encontrar enredados con problemas legales y migratorios cuando estos esfuerzos se aumentan. Por eso es importante que cada inmigrante se educa con respeto a sus derechos aquí en este país.

El “American Civil LIberties Union” (ACLU) tiene mucha información, tanto en inglés como en español, que le puede enseñar que hacer en el caso de un encuentro con la migra o la policía. Cada uno debe tomar el tiempo para leerlo y conocerlo.

Record-Setting, But for Who?

The cover of this morning’s Yakima Herald featured an article on how “high prices, high demand and bad weather for competitors have Yakima Valley growers heading for a record season.” The article, in rather unsurprising fashion, makes no mention of how these record prices might effect the wages of those who actually havest the fruit. Field workers are, for the most part, out of sight  out of mind here in the valley. There are no tributes to their hard work and dedication, no bonuses or trophies when the do better than the year before.

It would be interesting to see a follow-up article in 3-4 months once the harvest has begun to see if the agicultural workers are noticing the “record breaking prices.” It’s possible that such records don’t trickle down that far.

The “I” Word

Kudos to Geraldo Rivera, of empty vault fame, for this recent op-ed on the Latino Fox News website. Geraldo makes the argument, and powerfully so, that the term “illegal immigrant” should be abandoned. I found the following paragraph to be particularly compelling:

“Like the words ‘Jew’ or ‘slob’ or ‘slut’, the phrase ‘illegal alien’ has the elegance of being harsh, but defensible, if accurate. Although it can be used as a cutting reference, it can still be uttered in polite company without fear of raising many eyebrows, especially among those who feel similarly negative about the individual being described.”

Read more: