CWS immigration legal professionals offer "DREAMers" free help applying for relief from deportation (deferred action)
Beginning on August 15, undocumented young people who came to the United States as children and meet certain conditions will be able to apply for relief from the threat of deportation. Church World Service (CWS) immigration legal services professionals are helping potential beneficiaries understand the many requirements of the new "deferred action for childhood arrivals" and to apply.
News release in Spanish
New York, NY -- Beginning on August 15, undocumented young people who came to the United States as children and meet certain conditions will be able to apply for relief from the threat of deportation. Church World Service (CWS) immigration legal services professionals are helping potential beneficiaries understand the many requirements of the new “deferred action for childhood arrivals” and to apply.
Thanks to special funding from participating denominations, CWS will waive its $45 intake fee for the first 100 “DREAMers” it helps in its New York City immigration legal services offices. It will also waive its fees for up to 75 in its Miami, Fla., offices; up to 75 in its Greensboro, N.C., offices, and up to 35 in its Lancaster, Pa., offices, all on a first-come, first-served basis. Applicants will still be responsible for all U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fees.
New York City-based CWS is a global humanitarian agency whose largest program is its immigration and refugee program.
“DREAMers” take their name from the “Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors” (DREAM) Act, proposed federal legislation that would offer permanent legal status to eligible immigrant young people.
“Deferred action for childhood arrivals,” announced June 15, offers temporary relief from deportation (two years, renewable). Persons granted relief under this announcement will be eligible for a work permit if they can demonstrate an economic necessity for employment.
According to the Migration Policy Institute (www.migrationpolicy.org), as many as 1.76 million undocumented immigrant young people could benefit from deferred action.
With the opportunity for benefit comes the potential for abuse, and CWS is cautioning “DREAMers” to avoid perpetrators of frauds and scams -- such as “notarios,” who cannot legally practice law in the United States.
“It has been reported that notarios have been asking for $1,000 to file for deferred action,” said Erol Kekic, director of the CWS Immigration and Refugee Program. “Don’t get scammed! Going to notarios can waste your money, and jeopardize your future immigration status. Before applying for any immigration benefit, potential beneficiaries should consult only with an attorney who practices immigration law, a BIA-accredited representative at a recognized agency, or a paralegal supervised by an attorney.”
CWS’s New York City immigration legal services office serves the tri-state area with high quality low-cost immigration legal services to anyone needing assistance, regardless of the person’s country of origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, creed, or immigration status. CWS attorneys speak Spanish, French and English, and handle a variety of cases. For more information or to make an appointment with the New York City office, call 212-870-2814. Click here for the other immigration legal services offices in the CWS network.
Visit www.churchworldservice.org/assistancetodreamers for more information.
Excerpt: USCIS information about deferred action for childhood arrivals
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on August 3 published important updated information about “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” Beginning August 15, 2012, DHS announced, individuals who meet the following criteria will be able to request deferred action:
- On June 15, 2012, you were under 31 years of age; and
- You came to the U.S. before reaching your 16th birthday; and
- You have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, and continue to reside in the U.S.; and
- You were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and you are physically present in the U.S. at the time of making your request for deferred action; and
- You entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012; and
- You are currently in school on the date you submit your request for deferred action; or you graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school; or obtained a GED certificate; or are an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces; and
- You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanor offenses; and
- You are not a threat to the national security or public safety.
Deferred action is not automatic; DHS can deny an application based on its discretion even if the applicant meets the eligibility criteria. See www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals for more information.