Immigrants Benefiting from Deferred Action Keep an Eye on Election

Monday, November 05, 2012

Andres Palacio and Oscar Lopez (Mirela Iverac/WNYC)

Andres Palacio says the letters he recently got from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services make him feel more like his classmates at Nassau Community College in Garden City, Long Island.

“I won't have to worry about any restrictions,” he said. “I’ll practically be normal.”

Palacio, 19, got his approval for deferred action and two days later a work permit arrived in the mail. He is among the 4,500 people across the country who have been approved for deferred action, according to the latest figures from the Department of Homeland Security. It means he won’t be deported for two years and can work legally as long as he does not commit a serious crime.  Palacio came to the United States from Colombia when he was 8 to join his parents. He's in his third semester and says he thinks his life will be easier from now on.

“I’ll be able to work and help my parents and drive, which is a big deal,” Palacio said.

Palacio’s parents, Janeth, 45 and John, 47, who clean houses, currently pay for his education.  After he gets a driver's license, Palacio plans to find a part-time job to help out with his tuition and living expenses. He’ll get an associate degree in liberal arts next summer, but he hopes to continue studying to become a nurse, nurse practitioner or a physician assistant.

Some experts and advocates, like Jojo Annobil, attorney in charge of the immigration law unit at the Legal Aid Society, say that so far deferred action seems to be working.

 “I think the program has been a success,” Annobil said.

But Annobil says the number of people who have so far applied for deferred action, around 200,000, is a small proportion of the 1.26 million who are estimated to be eligible, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Eighty thousand of those eligible live in New York State.

To qualify for deferred action immigrants must show they arrived in the United States before their 16th birthday, are under the age of 31, and have lived in the U.S. for at least five years. They also need to have a high school diploma or a G.E.D., or currently be in school.  They also must not have been convicted of a serious crime.

Annobil says there are a few reasons those who are eligible haven't applied. For some the required $465 fee is hard to come up with. Some fear by coming forward they could end up deported. And one group is watching “ to see what happens with the elections on November 6th,” Annobil said.

The question of what happens after the elections also lingered in the air at the cafeteria at Nassau Community College. Palacio was joined by his friend Oscar Lopez, 19. He came eight years ago from El Salvador. Lopez has also applied for deferred action and he’s waiting to hear back.

”I feel positive I’m gonna get it,” he said.

Lopez is optimistic not only about getting a work permit but also about being able to renew it when it expires in two years. Palacio, however, said he is worried what could happen with the program if Mitt Romney wins.

“I heard he’s not going to continue deferred action,” Palacio said, referring to Governor Romney.

Romney has said he would honor already issued work permits, but would replace deferred action with a more permanent solution. He plans to allow those who were brought here as children and who serve in the military to get green cards. But it's unclear what would happen with others who qualify for deferred action.


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Comments [8]

cesar ramos from new bedford massachusets

I got my work permit already it is a blessing for me so I can get my license I can work legal and I can pay my taxes so god bless tose people ho came on with tis law..thanks and god bless you

Dec. 04 2013 06:25 PM
Luis from Charlotte

If i enter usa in june26 2008 can i still qualify for the deferred action???

Oct. 29 2013 03:32 PM
lily budhu from Hollywood fl

I applied for my child for the deferred action the application was received in august of 2012 biometerics was done on september of 2012 yet we still did not receive the work permit not forgetting that she reached all the requirements and more presently she is in school immigration is saying that she has to wain three to six months before she can qualify.Kids that are not even in school got theirs and she is still waiting,every time we check for case status they keep saying to wait.

Feb. 17 2013 10:29 AM

Your legal articles are very helpful, especially ones regarding immigration. You must be a very good immigration attorney and you may know a lot of professionals in this practice area. I think, some of them could be listed in my Attorney Directory. I invite there good US attorneys. For example, this is a category with California immigration attorneys I don’t take money for publishing contacts in this directory and invite there only the best lawyers.

Nov. 19 2012 03:37 PM
Dave Francis from Indianapolis, IN

• The Liberal stream media has been co-conspirators from the commencement and thus the general public knew little of ‘America’s Fraud President’ and the hateful measures perpetrated by the Obama Regime. This is why the Tea Party must bring national awareness to the dangers of the lame stream press and educate the public on the impact of their recent actions of the ‘takers’ as they sold their votes. The Tea Party must march forward with a 2 prong approach. We must bypass the lame stream media with truthful and accurate information.

• We must tell the Republican Party they have proven themselves ineffective and therefore must get out of our way.

Now is the time that we must surge. We shall not go quietly into the night, but we are ready to take our stand here, we will not back down, ever.

Nov. 07 2012 06:33 PM
Me@nMrMust@rd from California

Well wigglwagon, Obama is your master for 1 more presidential term. He said that they will be going after the gangbangers but not the hard working immigrants who live here :) So keep on wishing you racist prick. Mitt thought the same way you do and it got him nowhere, just like you won't get anywhere with that ignorant, narrow-minded thinking.

Nov. 07 2012 02:35 PM
Damian Leon

wigglwagon I will be granted deferred action. Should my US citizen mom be deported from the US of which she has been a citizen for over ten years. What about the ones, like me, that got caught up in the bureaucratic nightmare that is the US immigration system. I have been waiting "in line" for over ten years for a visa, but this is barely half the time. If I were from merry old England I would have acquired permament residency many-a-year ago. She applied for me back in 2001, in the spring of that year.

Nov. 06 2012 05:58 PM

Every deferred action that is granted should be accompanied by the permanent deportation of the illegal alien parents who caused this problem. Those who were brought here as children want to be placed at the front of the line but they also want those who caused the problem to not be held accountable for their crimes. Any so called solution that leaves illegal workers employed and citizen and legal immigrants unemployed will never be acceptable.

It is time for the President of the United States to start living up to his responsibilities to the law abiding citizen and legal immigrant families.

Embezzlers are not allowed to keep on embezzling until their day in court. Why are criminal immigrants allowed to keep practicing their crimes? Just letting them out on bail is like leaving embezzlers on the job with access to steal even more. Illegal immigrants should have to await their day in immigration court in their own country.

Nov. 05 2012 10:05 PM

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