Obama Immigration Policy Procedure Remains Unclear
Members of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center said in a press briefing that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services should be able to announce its procedures for applying for deferred action within the next 60 days, allowing qualified young people to be safe from deportation for two years while they can also get work permits.
The center encouraged people who might qualify to gather materials in the next two months to prove they meet the requirements but to be discreet in filing requests before any further information is revealed.
Joyce Noche, the organization’s immigration and citizenship supervising attorney, said if a request is denied, there is a possibility that the individual will be deported.
“There will be supervisory review of cases to ensure quality assurance on the adjudication of these applications,” Noche said. “At this time, there is no formal appeal process. There is always that risk that they will place someone in the removal proceedings.”
Neidi Dominguez, an advocate for DREAM Team Los Angeles, said Obama’s executive action is only temporary relief. Deferred action can be terminated or renewed at any time, she said, and it does not confer legal status nor leads to permanent residency or citizenship.
“Given what has been said, this is a small step,” Dominguez said. “But it was a big step. We got the door open and now we just have to keep on working.”
According to The New York Times, however, the prosecutorial discretion - an order made seven months ago by Obama's administration to review all deportations - doesn’t work well. Less than two percent of the 411,000 cases under review have been closed so far.
Noche said that compared to the earlier order, this executive order has an actual plan.
According to the plan, Homeland Security will not deport people who meet certain requirements: the person must be up to the age of 30, came to the U.S. under the age of 16 and continuously resided in the U.S. for five years. The individuals should be in school, have graduated high school or are military veterans. Clean criminal records are required.
Noche said illegal immigrants who want to apply for deferred action should start to gather supporting information like passports, financial records, school records, medical records and military records to prove that they qualify.
The main challenges, Noche said, are that there's currently no appeal process and no clear definition that what kind of criminal activity will be regarded as a bar to get this relief aside from, Reuters reported, the individual must not have been convicted of any felony or significant misdemeanor offenses.
Reach Staff Reporter Kay Chinn here.