More than a million young undocumented immigrants are eligible as of today for the two-year deferred deportation program enacted by the Obama administration in June, and reports suggest many are already seizing that opportunity.
In Chicago, WLS-TV reported that people began lining up Tuesday night to turn in their applications. In a surprise move, the government posted the application forms Tuesday, a day earlier than expected.
According to the Washington Post, immigrant advocacy groups have planned to host workshops today for people putting together their application packets. Officials say they will accept tax receipts, bank records, and religious records as some ways to prove continuous residency.
“People are very, very anxious to file, so we’ve been telling them to over-prepare,” said Emid Gonzalez, manager of legal services at Casa de Maryland, which works with low-income immigrants in Baltimore and Prince George’s County. “The phone has been ringing off the hook.”
Applicants for for the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process,” as immigration officials call it, must have arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 and be under 31 years old, while living in the country continuously since June 15, 2007; they should either be in school, have graduated high school or earned a GED or honorable discharge from the U.S. military or Coast Guard; and have either no felonies or less than three “significant” misdemeanors on their criminal record. They must also pay a $465 application fee.
“Nobody’s gonna get a green card out of this,” immigration attorney Charles Kuck told CNN. “Nobody’s getting anything more than a promise of, ‘The next two years, we will support you.’ But it gives hope to kids. And when you give kids hope, you see great benefits in the community.”
Colorlines reported that one advocacy group, Public Interest Projects, has launched a fundraising program to help applicants through the process*.
Watch CNN’s report on today’s new application process below:
Update: In an e-mail to Raw Story, Public Interest Projects submitted this explanation of the process behind the fund: “Funds will be given to local vetted established immigration groups, who will then disperse them to local DREAMers. Funds will not be given directly to individuals, and applications are not being accepted at this time.”