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

    Many Dreamers aren't signing up for Obama's deportation relief

    Aug 6, 2014, 2:32pm EDT

    Many Dreamers aren't signing up for Obama's deportation relief

    Kent Hoover Washington Bureau Chief

    Only 55 percent of the 1.2 million immigrants who were eligible for relief from deportation when President Barack Obama launched the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2012 have applied for this protection.

    That’s according to a new Migration Policy Institute report.

    Under DACA, unauthorized immigrants who entered the U.S. before the age of 16 and were under the age of 31 in 2012 can win the right to work in the U.S. if these so-called Dreamers meet certain residency and education requirements.

    DACA is in the news again for two reasons:

    • First, there’s a lot of speculation that President Barack Obama will expand the program to additional classes of undocumented immigrants because of Congress’ failure to act on comprehensive immigration reform.
    - Second, the House last week passed legislation that would bar Obama from continuing the DACA program. Republicans contended the president lacked the authority to change immigration laws in this way, and argued DACA provided an incentive for young immigrants to cross into the U.S. illegally.

    So it’s interesting to find out the program isn’t being used by many undocumented immigrants who are eligible for it.

    “On the one hand, the sheer volume of applicants is impressive,” said Michael Fix, president of the Migration Policy Institute. “On the other, hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth have not yet gained a status that can change their lives in measurable ways, allowing them improved job prospects, the ability to apply for driver’s licenses and more.”

    Eligible youth were most likely to apply for DACA relief in Arizona, Texas, Nevada, Colorado and North Carolina, and least likely to apply in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, Florida and Maryland, MPI’s report found. Teenagers were more likely to apply for DACA than immigrants in their 20s, and Latin Americans were more likely to apply than Asians.

    Youth who met all of DACA’s requirements except for education tended to be older and less proficient in English.

    “For many, access to adult education programs, including English as a Second Language and basic skills instruction, is critical to meeting DACA’s education requirements,” said Margie McHugh, director of MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy.

    Some undocumented immigrants, however, may be afraid of signing up for any government program. Even without being in DACA, the risk of being deported is slim because immigration enforcement officials are swamped by the sheer numbers of undocumented immigrants. Some immigrants may feel that it’s safer to remain in the shadows, since DACA is just a discretionary program and could end at any time.

    DACA is an experiment that will be instructive if Congress ever gets to point of passing comprehensive immigration reform. Just because the federal government offers a program that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain legal status doesn’t mean that all of these immigrants will choose to sign up for it, especially if it means paying fines and back taxes
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 08-06-2014 at 06:00 PM.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    PARADISE (San Diego)
    Arizona leads U.S. in deferred-action application rate

    Arizona Republic columnist EJ Montini and reporter Richard Ruelas discuss Arizona's nationa leading deferred-action rate.

    Daniel Gonzalez, The Republic | 11:08 a.m. MST August 6, 2014

    (Photo: Nick Oza/The Republic)


    • Arizona is the most successful state in the nation for President Obama's deferred-action program.
    • Two out of three immigrants in Arizona eligible for deferred action have applied for the program.
    • Arizona's tough immigration stance has motivated immigrants to apply for protection from deportation.

    Immigrants like Franko Milan have made Arizona the most successful state in sign-ups for President Barack Obama's deferred-action program, which offers protection from deportation and work permits for those brought to the U.S. illegally.

    The 23-year-old Phoenix resident submitted his application on Aug. 20, 2012, just five days after the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program began accepting applications.

    In Arizona, 66 percent
    of the 34,000 people immediately eligible for the program have applied. Almost 20,000 already have been approved.

    FACT CHECK: Was Brewer accurate on deferred-action migrants, border?

    RELATED: Now it's time for first 'dreamers' to renew their status
    RELATED: Survey: 70% of 'dreamers' got jobs under Obama work program

    That is the highest application rate of any state; significantly higher than the 55 percent application rate nationally, according to a new study released Wednesday by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

    The state's tough stance towards undocumented immigrants has motivated more people to apply for the program, according to experts.

    "Immigration has been such a contentious issue for so long and it's so high visibility in Arizona that people knew about the program and probably felt it was in their best interest to sign up," said Michael Fix, president of the institute.

    Arizona's large Mexican immigrant population and strong network of immigrant advocacy organizations, also likely contributed to the high application rate, Fix said.

    Texas is second to Arizona with an application rate of 64 percent. Colorado and Nevada with 61 percent each and North Carolina with 59 percent round out the top five, according to the report, which only ranked the 15 states with the largest number undocumented immigrants eligible for the program.

    States such as Massachusetts and Virginia, where the immigration population is more diverse and political attitudes towards undocumented immigrants are more favorable, tended to have lower application rates, Fix noted. In Massachusetts, 37 percent of eligible immigrants have applied for the program, in Virginia 38 percent, according to the report.

    The report's volatile timing

    The report was timed to coincide with the 2-year anniversary of the DACA program. Immigrants approved in 2012 are beginning to apply to have their deferred action from deportation renewed.

    But the report also comes at a time when Republicans in Congress are attacking the program, blaming DACA for spurring the surge in unaccompanied minors entering the country illegally in South Texas and other parts along the border.

    The White House has countered that the surge was prompted by children fleeing rampant gang violence in their home countries and attempting to reunite with family in the U.S.

    On Friday, just before adjourning for its August recess, the Republican-controlled House passed a bill to kill the DACA program and prevent the Obama administration from expanding it in the future by freezing additional federal funds for the program.

    The bill was largely symbolic, however, since it is not likely to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, and Obama said he would veto it.

    The Migration Policy Institute report said that as of July 20, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services had accepted 681,189 DACA applications and approved 587,366 of them.

    The report estimated there were 1.2 million young undocumented immigrants immediately eligible for the program. It estimates that if the program continues, another 473,000 undocumented immigrants will become eligible after they turn 15, provided they stay in school. About 80,000 to 90,000 kids a year become eligible.

    Applicants must be at least 15 and under the age of 31. They must also have been brought to the U.S. before turning 16, lived in the U.S. continuously since June 15, 2007, and have been physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012.

    Therefore, none of the child migrants who have arrived from Central American this year qualify for the program.

    Permanent residency not guaranteed

    The report notes that despite receiving deferred action under the program, many young, undocumented immigrants would not qualify for legal permanent status under the DREAM Act, a bill that has been pending in Congress for years.

    The DREAM Act would allow young, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors to gain permanent residency if they completed two years of college or military service.

    "Raising the number of youth who reach this threshold will require significant investments to promote college enrollment, retention and degree completion," Wednesday's report said.

    Arizona gained a national reputation for being tough on illegal immigration after passing numerous laws aimed at driving undocumented immigrants out of the state, capped by SB 1070. The 2010 law sought to require local police to play a major role in immigration enforcement.

    In 2005, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio also launched a series of sweeps aimed at arresting undocumented immigrants.

    But SB 1070 has since been gutted by court rulings, and Arpaio has since ended the sweeps after a federal judge concluded deputies had discriminated against Latinos by systematically profiling them to look for undocumented immigrants.

    'It's not a good feeling'

    Milan said one of the reasons he applied for the DACA program right away was because he didn't want to be deported to Mexico.

    His parents brought him to Arizona when he was nine months old on a tourist visa and the family remained in the U.S. illegally after the visa expired.

    In October, 2011, Milan said he was stopped by a Maricopa County sheriff's deputy while riding through the town of Guadalupe on his motorcycle. The deputy told him he had failed to come to a compete stop at a stop sign and booked him into jail because he didn't have a license.

    The next day he was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and placed in deportation proceedings.

    After Milan applied for DACA, ICE closed his deportation case. He was approved for the program in April, 2013. He applied last week to renew his approval for another two years.

    Milan said receiving deferred action has made him less worried about being deported.

    "It's not a good feeling being in that situation," he said.

    It also has created opportunities.

    After receiving his work permit, Milan enrolled in classes and earned his real estate license. He now works as a real estate agent.

    In Arizona, there has been a big push to encourage young undocumented immigrants to apply for deferred action, said Yadira Garcia. She oversees No Dream Deferred, a campaign to educate people about the program and help them apply.

    Since DACA went into effect two years ago, the campaign has held at least 15 clinics throughout the Phoenix area and in Flagstaff, she said.

    More than 2,000 people have attended the clinics, where volunteers help applicants fill out the paperwork and lawyers review the application, she said.

    "The enforcement and anti-immigrant sentiment in Arizona was definitely a very motivating factor" behind the campaign, Garcia said.

    "This would be sort of like a safety net. If you are a DACA beneficiary then enforcement wise you are not able to get deported," she said. "For several years that has been a big concern in Arizona that a simple traffic violation could get you could be put in deportation proceedings or deported for that matter."


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