Why Immigrant Dreamers still face DREAM Act’s Limits?

Posted on September 19, 2013. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , |

A year has passed since the start of the DREAM Act policy called Deferred Action (DACA). DREAMers who have been approved are still facing struggles.

DACA is a policy put in place by the Obama Administration to ensure that young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. at a young age receive protection from deportation.

Deferred Action defers deportation for a period of two years. This means that an undocumented immigrant who qualifies can live without fear of being deported. That is a huge opportunity in itself, but DACA not only stops deportation for a period of two years. It also gives recipients a work permit and a driver’s license.

As of mid-august, USCIS has received 588,725 applications for the program. Only 9,578 applicationshave been denied.

Of course, the program has helped;however, recipients of DACA are still facing frustration because of the program’s limitations.

Because the work permit is only issued for two years, many companies are not interested in hiring them. Yes, DACA can be renewed but companies cannot be sure that a renewal will be certain. Companies fear investing time and resources to train someone who could beineligible for renewal.A DACA recipient is treated as a temporary worker.

Other DACA recipients have trouble finding jobs because of their lack of experience. Many young undocumented immigrants have plenty of experience in various fields, but because they have been paid under the table, they are not able to list references of any kind.

There are also issues surrounding the issuance of driver’s licenses. In Arizona, for example, DACA recipients are still denied driver’s licenses. Not only does this mean they have to walk or use public transportation when job hunting, but they also have to deal with companies skeptical about hiring workers without their own transportation.

These limits further convince supporters that DREAMers really do need immigration reform that would grant them permanent lawful status.

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KIDS Act in the House of Representatives

Posted on July 25, 2013. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , , |

Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives are currently drafting a dream act bill called the KIDS Act.It would provide legal status to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, also known as dreamers.

The KIDS Act announcement came last week but no details have been released yet.

Though not expected to be like the Dream Act the House Democrats passed in 2010, the KIDS Act will probably include most of the same rules. Dreamers would most likely get legal status if they:

  • Came to the U.S. before age 16
  • Lived in U.S. for at least five years
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Can demonstrate “good moral character”

Children who were brought to the U.S. as children suffer greatly from being undocumented: they can’t get the jobs they want, can’t apply for driver’s licenses and can’t receive assistance for college tuition.

Not being old enough to make decisions on their own, supporters of dream act legislation believe these undocumented immigrantsshould not be punished for breaking the law and should instead have access to legal status.

The Deferred Action (DACA) program lets recipients remain in the U.S. without having to face deportation for a period of two years. Recipients are granted a work authorization and may apply for a driver’s license.But DACA does not give legal status.

DACA has been in place since August of 2012. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received over 500,000 applications thus far. Only about 20,000 applications have been rejected.

Early estimates stated there were about 2 million childhood arrivals that would be eligible. Some confusion still lingers over exactly what type of immigration status is granted to DACA recipients, and that may be holding people back.

In January, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) clarified that even though DACA does not give legal status, recipients are considered to belawfully present.

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Gov. Jan Brewer signs executive order denying benefits to undocumented immigrants who received deferred action

Posted on September 14, 2012. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , , , , |

Though most American states have accepted the deferred action process, that will temporarily shelve the deportation of eligible undocumented immigrants, Governor of Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer defies the deferred action process. She has signed an executive order, that Arizona will not grant state benefits to the individuals who receive deferred action. According to that executive order, even if Form I-821D filed by an undocumented immigrant is accepted by the USCIS and if the individual is granted deferred action, that person will be barred from obtaining state benefits. This executive order was signed after the President Obama Administration implemented the deferred action process on August 15th, 2012.

The order signed by Gov. Brewer, will bar the deferred action recipients from getting state issued ID’s and driver’s licenses. There are around 1.7 million undocumented immigrants in the United States who are likely to become eligible to receive deferred action. People who receive deferred action will also become eligible to obtain federal work permits, Social Security cards and driver’s licenses. Though this process will allow the recipients to remain in the United States for only a certain period of time, many undocumented immigrants will be benefited through this process. Undocumented immigrants in the United States will not be ousted from the country for two years and their work permits will also be valid for the two-year period. This process can be renewed by the end of the two-year period.

There are around 80, 000 individuals in Arizona, who may be entitled to receive deferred action. In order to file Form I-821D, to request deferred action/Acción diferida, an individual must be between 15 and 31 years of age. And there are certain other requirements that must be satisfied to receive deferred action. Brewer states that the undocumented immigrants are not granted legal status in the United States if they receive deferred action and so the recipients of deferred action must not be entitled to public benefits. It is Arizona that had passed an immigration law that will throw out undocumented immigrants from the state and that law has not been implemented yet. Gov. Brewer has now signed an executive order denying public benefits to eligible undocumented immigrants who receive deferred action, stating that the public benefits are granted by making use of the funds that are collected as tax.

Though such an order has been signed, eligible undocumented immigrants are in the process of filing Form I-821D, to request deferred action. Along with that they are filing Form I-765 to request employment authorization. The order that was signed by Gov. Brewer conflicts with the federal law that states that the undocumented immigrants who receive deferred action will be considered to be present in the United States lawfully, provided that they will not be granted legal status. According to the federal law related to deferred action, individuals who file Form I-821D and receive deferred action will still be eligible to file applications for Arizona state identification. However, the executive order denying state benefits to the individuals who receive deferred action, signed by Gov. Brewer, has quashed the happiness of the Dreamers in Arizona, who are eligible and likely to receive deferred action.

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