By Norma Montenegro Flynn
(Version en español abajo)
Nearly one million young people have the opportunity to access temporary work authorization and protection from deportation under the Deferred Action granted on June 15, 2012, by President Barack Obama.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) will allow talented young people to fully participate in our society. However, it is important to point out that this program will protect them from deportation only temporarily. The protection will last only for two years, and in order to continue, another extension must be approved. In addition, this program applies only to certain youth who must meet specific requirements such as having arrived to the country before age 16, are currently in school or received at least a high school diploma or equivalent, and do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
As a guide to those who wish to submit their application, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs has posted on its website www.justiceforimmigrants.org, the document: Q&A on DeferredAction for Childhood Arrivals, which provides answers to the most common questions, such as the qualifications criteria, what does “significant misdemeanor” means, and explains the application process.
It is also important to remind those interested in applying that if they decide to seek professional help to fill out their applications, they must rely on legitimate professionals or organizations to avoid becoming victims of scams. The information also provides links to social service organizations throughout the country that provide assistance in the application process.
As Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, chairman of USCCB’s Committee on Migration said, “The action by the President is no substitute for enactment of the DREAM Act in Congress. We encourage our elected officials of both parties to take this opportunity to work together to enact this important law, which would give these youth a path to citizenship and a chance to become Americans.”
It’s important to allow these young men and women to build their own bright futures away from the shadows.