Seeking safety from deportation

This was the scene at the offices of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant of Los Angeles yesterday, a nonprofit which assists the undocumented. Hundreds of immigrants have to come to CHIRLA  in recent days to learn more about the deportation reprieve program and get help filling out the necessary paperwork. Packed seminars were held every hour.

Today is a very big day for the shadow population of young undocumented immigrants living in the United States. They’ll be able to start applying for a program that will allow them to stay in the United States and avoid deportation.

Undocumented immigrants who qualify for the program (and that’s at least 1.2 million people) will be able to apply for Social Security cards, drivers’ licenses and student loans, basically the things they need to either get an education or hold down a job. To be eligible for the program, immigrants without papers must have been residing in this country and under the age of 31 on June 15th of this year, the date the program was announced by President Obama. They must also have been brough to the United States before the age of 16 and have resided here for at least five years. A person who’s been convicted of a felony or a serious misdemeanor is barred from participating.

But the immigration deferrals that are granted are temporary and will last only two years. Supporters hope this will be a big step forward in passing the Dream Act,  proposed legislation that will give permanent legal status to people who were brought to America when they were children.

More information about the program and an application can be found at the following website operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Warren talked about this “mini Dream Act” on last night’s Which Way, LA? Listen to that here: