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Dreamers Brought As Children Can Apply

Monica is a Catholic Worker in Houston.

Since the Obama administration announced a plan to defer the deportation of some undocumented immigrants while granting them permission to work, we’ve been receiving calls at Casa Juan Diego about the details of how to apply to the so-called Deferred Action for DREAMers program. Some inquiries have even been from former guests seeking records of their stay with us to prove how long they have been in the country.

Like millions of others brought to the U.S. as children without legal papers, they hope to avail themselves of the long-awaited chance to emerge from the shadows in the only country many of them have ever known.

Announced on June 15, the program allows law-abiding young people under the age of 30 who entered the country before they turned 16 and who are either in school, have graduated, received a GED or have served in the military to apply for deferred action, giving them temporary legal status for two year increments. It also allows them to apply for work permits.

The Department of Homeland Security in August released a few details of what is required to apply for deferred action. Further details and the application form itself will be issued Aug. 15.

To apply, applicants must:

•           Have no valid immigration status and have entered the U.S. before they were 16.

•           Were 30 years or younger as of Aug. 15, 2012 and have lived in the U.S. continuously since June 15, 2007

•           Have never been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor – domestic violence, sexual abuse, burglary, DUI’s, etc., or three or more misdemeanors for which they served more than five days in jail. (Misde-meanors related to minor traffic offenses are not included nor are offenses against state immigration laws, such as Arizona’s SB 1070).

•           Are in school on the date the application is filed, have graduated from high school or earned a GED, or served in the military.

How to apply:

•           Submit the relevant form to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services along with an $85 fee for a background check. To apply for a work permit, an additional $380 fee will be required.

•           Evidence submitted may include proof of identity, financial, medical, school, employment or military records. School records include degrees, report cards and transcripts.

In Houston, Catholic Charities at 2900 Louisiana Street, telephone 713 874-6570, is assisting with the applications.

For further information, visit www.uscis.gov/childhood arrivals or call 1-800-375-5283