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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)

    Dreamers lose legal status and jobs in renewal delay

    Immigration anxiety: Dreamers lose legal status and jobs in renewal delay

    Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group
    Blanca Lopez is photographed in her family’s home on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, in Union City, Calif. Lopez was granted temporary relief from deportation under a federal program known as DACA, but her renewal application has yet to arrive and has caused her temporary legal status to expire. As a result, Lopez was terminated from her job at Workday.

    PUBLISHED: October 28, 2016 at 7:00 am | UPDATED: October 28, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    When Blanca Lopez received temporary relief from deportation, it seemed like the opportunities ahead were endless.

    The 26-year-old Union City woman, brought here at age 4 by parents who immigrated illegally from Mexico, graduated from Cal Poly State University. She got a job as an operations analyst for Workday, the Pleasanton-based human resources and financial services company.

    But last month, Lopez’s status in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program expired, even though she filed her request for renewal about four months in advance. No longer eligible to work in the U.S., Lopez — who said she had been poised to receive a promotion — was terminated by Workday.

    She is one of thousands of DACA recipients nationwide whose temporary legal status has expired due to backlogs at the federal agency that processes requests for renewal. In what appear to be the longest delays in the four-year history of the program, young professionals like Lopez are losing their jobs — and their incomes.

    Lopez said her position at Workday is already posted, and she worries that all her hard work to get there will be gone.

    “You have all this, and automatically overnight you don’t,” she said. “You don’t have a career, you don’t have a position, and you lose all your benefits.”

    DACA, an executive action by President Barack Obama in 2012, allows eligible undocumented residents who were brought to the U.S. before the age of 16 and have remained here since 2007 to receive two-year work permits and temporary relief from deportation. At the end of two years, they must apply for renewals and new work permits. They can apply for multiple renewals, so long as they meet certain requirements.

    The program has been praised by activists and young undocumented residents, known as “Dreamers,” as a rare victory in federal immigration reform, one that has granted thousands of young people the chance to go to college, purchase their first cars and pursue promising careers.

    Since the program’s inception, an estimated 1.2 million unauthorized young people in the U.S. have received deferred action, according to the most recent data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. That includes an estimated 526,000 who have received approved renewals. As of June 30, about 75,200 requests for renewal were pending.

    USCIS spokeswoman Sharon Rummery blamed the current delays on “technical problems,” which she said have affected “several thousand” renewal requests, most of which were submitted between February and June. Delays also occurred last year, though on a smaller scale, she said.

    “USCIS is dedicated to restoring normal processing times as quickly as possible and many impacted customers should receive a decision on their case within the coming weeks,” Rummery said in a prepared statement. “As with any USCIS adjudication, however, there may be facts unique to a particular case requiring additional processing time to resolve.”

    Like most federal immigration policies, DACA has been the focus of heated debate, with critics arguing that undocumented residents — even those brought here as children — shouldn’t be allowed to remain, let alone work or go to school. Taxpayers, they argue, are the ones who suffer.

    In June, the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked in a case challenging a proposed expansion of DACA, letting stand a federal injunction barring any expansion.

    The current delays have forced some DACA beneficiaries to tell their bosses they are undocumented, according to Greisa Martinez, advocacy director for the national immigrant youth-led organization, United We Dream.

    “We have been able to prove that DACA works. But DACA only works if people are able to take advantage of the opportunities (it offers),” she said. “The fact that we’re seeing this level of delays, particularly in a time of high anxiety for undocumented immigrants because of this political election, it’s very disappointing.”

    Martinez said the delays are unlike any the organization has seen. Earlier this week, USCIS Director León Rodriguez held a conference call with hundreds of members of United We Dream who were affected by the issue, according to Martinez. Rummery confirmed the call, which was closed to media.

    Lopez said she submitted her formal request for renewal in May, about four months before her DACA status was set to expire as federal officials recommend. Her request was approved Oct. 22. in a written letter from USCIS. But she’s still waiting for her employment authorization to arrive in the mail and has been out of work for more than a month.

    “I was in shock for the first week. I would say, ‘OK, it is probably going to arrive next week.’ And then this week passed,” she said earlier this month. “I’m like, wow, this is real.”

    In a prepared statement, a Workday spokesperson confirmed Lopez’s employment and said it would be possible for her to get her job back once she receives work authorization.

    Gabriel Belmonte ‘s status expired Sept. 4. Although Belmonte said USCIS approved his application for renewal, the 34-year-old San Jose resident, who supports his parents, said he too has yet to receive employment authorization.

    Without it, he can’t work. He’s been on an extended leave from his engineering job without pay or health insurance for two months.

    “I’m kind of living off my savings without any timetable of how this is going to get resolved,” he said. “I can’t even work under the table because (immigration authorities) have my information,” he said. “I’m just sitting at home.”

    Silvia Aguilar had to take a leave from her job for nearly five weeks before she received her DACA renewal on Oct. 21. She’s since returned to work as a mechanical engineer at Lam Research in Fremont. A company spokesperson said Lam could not comment on an individual’s employment status for privacy reasons.

    “We can say that we support employees that are going through the legal immigration process to the best of our ability,” the company said in a prepared statement. “We believe in sensible immigration policies that create an environment where high-skilled workers can contribute to the innovation and growth of the U.S. economy.”

    But Aguilar and others say the delays just cause more anxiety in an already-uncertain environment.

    “It’s hard to plan your life more than two years at a time,” said Aguilar. “If every two years this happens, it’s a huge disruption in your life.”


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  2. #2
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
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    Apr 2016
    Which is why they NEVER should haven been granted "temporary" status. They should all be deported to get on with their lives in their Country. They were brought here illegally under criminal not reward...deport!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Captainron's Avatar
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    May 2007
    How many of the DACA recipients are Hispanic? What about disparate impact and racial quotas? I want fairness!
    "Men of low degree are vanity, Men of high degree are a lie. " David
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  4. #4
    Senior Member lsmith1338's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Boston, MA
    Nice jobs they have and savings too, those jobs should go to American citizens not them as they are here illegally, got free educations I am sure and are taking our jobs. I do not feel sorry for them. We must have all American citizens working before any jobs go to anyone else. We have 94 million working age Americans out of work. Take care of that first. If we take care of that we will not need workers from anywhere else.
    Freedom isn't free... Don't forget the men who died and gave that right to all of us....
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