Friday, August 29, 2014

Few Asian Students Apply for DACA

NEW YORK, NY (PR) - U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens), joined by local elected officials and immigration advocacy groups urged young undocumented immigrants in the New York area to enroll and reapply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an initiative implemented in June 2012 that provides temporary protection against deportation.

The program, put into place by President Obama, allows qualified immigrants – under age 31 – who were brought to the country illegally as children to receive work permits and stay in the United States for period of two years.

Although approximately 560,000 immigrants have been granted DACA protection, many are unaware that they must reapply now in order to remain safe from deportation. DACA protections start to expire this September, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced in June that it began to accept renewal requests for an additional two years.

“It is critical for our communities to spread the word loud and clear that those with DACA status must renew their enrollment in the program as soon as possible,” said Meng. “DACA has allowed more than half a million undocumented youth to come out of the shadows and contribute to our society. But those people, who are undocumented through no fault of their own, must understand the requirement to reapply, and I urge qualified immigrants who have not applied at all to do so at once.”

Meng noted that many undocumented youth are unaware that new applications for the DACA program continue to be accepted. While many have received DACA status, it is estimated that thousands of immigrants in New York are eligible for the program but have not yet applied for it.

In order to qualify for DACA, applicants must meet and prove the following criteria:

Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;

Came to the United States before reaching their 16th birthday;

Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;

Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making their request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;

Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012, meaning that:

They never had a lawful immigration status on or before June 15, 2012, or 
Any lawful immigration status or parole that they obtained prior to June 15, 2012, had expired as of June 15, 2012;

Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and

Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

The renewal process can be started by filing the new version of Form I-821D “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” Form I-765 “Application for Employment Authorization,” and the I-765 Worksheet. 

Forms are available on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website at Renewal applications should be submitted at least 120 days before DACA protections expire.

Elected officials and organizations taking part in this event include:

Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Queens)
Catholic Migration Services
Chinese Progressive Association (CPA)
Dominico American Society of Queens
Hispanic Federation
Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (KALAGNY)
Latin Women in Action
Make the Road New York
MinKwon Center for Community Action
New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE)


“Catholic Migration Services is committed to assisting young people renew their deferred action under DACA,” said Father Patrick J. Keating, Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Migration Services. “The DACA renewal process is critical in the lives of these young people, for it will provide them the ability to continue their education and employment away from the shadow of fear. DACA renewal is a glimmer of hope in the lives of these young people who call America their home.”

“Since its inception DACA has opened important opportunities for some of the young people in our community,” said Mae Lee, Executive Director of the Chinese Progressive Association. “We hope that in the future they will be afforded a path to citizenship and that such policies will be expanded to other undocumented community members. DACA is a good first step but we have a long way to go to ensure that all immigrants are given the same opportunities.”

“DAS urged young undocumented immigrants who qualify for DACA to seek information at local not for profit organizations like the Dominico American Society (DAS) of Queens to enroll and reapply,” said Dominico American Society Executive Director Jose Tejada.

"We would like to thank Congresswoman Meng for her leadership in ensuring that our immigrant youth are aware of all the opportunities for DACA assistance available to them," said Jessica Orozco, Director of Immigration and Civic Engagement at the Hispanic Federation. "It is critical that our youth know that our agencies exist to serve them in the DACA application process - from screening them for eligibility to helping them find resources for the application fee. As a community we support one another, grow together and will create meaningful change for our future."​

“My message to you is that everyone needs to see if they are eligible for DACA,” said Eve Cho Guillergan, Esq., Co-Chair of the Immigration Committee and a member of the Board of Governors at KALAGNY. “Please get help with your applications and build your future."
"The MinKwon Center for Community Action has proudly led the Korean community in providing free legal assistance to more than 500 applicants to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program since it was announced by President Obama in 2012," said Grace Shim, Executive Director of the MinKwon Center. "At this time, it is imperative that all DACA recipients renew as early as possible so that they can continue to work, pay taxes, and support their families. Although these undocumented youth have been heartened by the temporary benefits of DACA, these benefits are still denied to millions of undocumented parents, family members and other loved ones. We call on President Obama to expand administrative relief, and to stop the deportations that continue to separate families."

“At NICE, we are conducting ongoing outreach to reach young workers, primarily day laborers, who may qualify for DACA, but are not in school and are not be aware of this important form of relief,” said Valeria Treves, Executive Director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE). “The renewal of DACA presents an opportunity to recommit to this important outreach and to continue to the fight for relief from deportations for all of our communities.”

"I encourage people who have lived and grown up here in the United States to apply or re-apply for protection under DACA,” said State Senator Toby Stavisky (D-Queens). “Though this does not give one permanent status, it goes a long way in making sure an individual has rights as a worker. Under DACA young immigrants no longer need to hide or be subject to abuse by unscrupulous employers." 

Mexican youth make up the largest number of those eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and also had the highest rate of applications, with 64 percent or 637,000 applications according to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI). But the absence of Chinese youth from the top 20 countries that applied for DACA came as a surprise to researchers – especially since Chinese rank in 9th place in terms of eligibility.

It took Amy Lin two months to decide to apply for deferred action. She was concerned about how the deportation reprieve would affect the rest of her family.

“I was fearing for my family because they don’t have the same protection,” said Lin, a 21-year-old who came to the United States from Taiwan when she was 12. “That’s the same for a lot of Chinese and Asian undocumented people.”

Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights through Education (ASPIRE), an organization Lin volunteers with in San Francisco, has been working on getting information to undocumented Asian youth to apply for deferred action -- but it hasn’t been easy.

“It’s like outing yourself to the public and community,” Lin said.

Lin has come across Chinese youth who are reluctant to apply due to fear of immigration authorities locating their immigrant family, not being able to afford the $464 application fee, language barriers, or simply a lack of access to information.

Call to President Obama to Provide Administrative Relief for Immigrants

NEW YORK, NY (PR) - On Tuesday evening, hundreds of New Yorkers gathered at Mason Hall at Baruch College for the “New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform” #Allin4Relief Town Hall, to hear immigrant New Yorkers share how the lack of immigration reform has impacted their communities. Joined by families, friends, and allies, town hall participants engaged in a lively discussion about how Congress’ inaction over the past year has only led to more deportations and has had serious consequences for immigrant families.

Affected immigrants speaking at the town hall made a rousing call for President Obama to take bold executive action in light of Congress’ failure to move on immigration reform, and provide broad administrative relief for New York's immigrant communities that would an end to deportations and the ability to work legally. Participants cited President Obama’s June 30th speech where he stated that he would take matters into his own hands and do what he can do fix the broken immigration system without Congress. Advocates are urging the White House to act in providing bold and broad administrative relief to millions by the end of the summer.

“As we approach the end of summer, our call for President Obama to use his executive authority to provide administrative relief is more urgent than ever,” said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “It is clear that Congress has failed us - they have had over a year now to pass immigration reform that has wide support from the American public, and yet they have remained at a standstill. In the meantime, families continue to be torn apart by deportation at a rate of 1,100 people deported a day. Today’s town hall demonstrates the many stories of New Yorkers who will benefit from administrative relief. We urge President Obama to act decisively and restore dignity to our communities. This is the only way forward.”

Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York and Angela Fernandez, executive director of the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrants Rights emceed the event and fielded questions from community members about the campaign for administrative relief. And one by one, seven immigrants reflecting New York’s diversity used their own experiences to call for administrative relief.

“I am here representing families with children with special needs because, due to a lack of papers, many of them run the risk of being deported,” said Esther Sanchez, an undocumented mother and artist with Immigrant Movement International. “This is what motivates me to be part of this struggle, the thought that there will be a change and a relief for all these families. We are one family, but there are many more, and we are tired of seeing families torn apart.”

“Every day, families live in fear that their family will be destroyed because they or someone else will be deported,” said Ravi Ragbir, executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, an undocumented New Yorker with a U.S citizen family. “It is inhumane to live not know if your father, mother, brother or sister will be captured by ICE and you will never see them again. The President has to act now and give us administrative relief to stop this inhumanity.”

“I came to this country a few months after I turned sixteen years old to join my family and to get a better education,” said Monica Sibri, a student at the College of Staten Island. “I did not qualify for deferred action because I did not meet the age requirement and so I continue to live in fear of deportation for myself and for my family. I am calling on President Obama to provide administrative relief for millions like me who just want to make a difference in this country. An enforcement-heavy approach to immigration is not a solution to the millions of undocumented people who work every day to make this country great. We urge him to heed our calls.”

Juan Carlos Gómez, member of Make the Road New York who is an undocumented immigrant, stated: “I am one of those immigrants that lives in the shadows, and that’s the situation I live with every day. Immigrants like me have been fighting for a long time for things to change. We need President Obama to take administrative action to ensure that the immigrants who help this country grow enjoy the right to live and work in peace and integrate more fully into this society.”

“The broken immigration system has etched indelible wounds upon my family and many others in our community,” said Hong Mei Pang, member of RAISE (Revolutionizing Asian American Immigrant Stories on the East Coast), affiliated with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. “DACA has provided an opportunity for me and those who qualify to be protected from deportation and to access work authorization to become active and visible participants in our society. However, our parents, family members, and friends are still not safe, and we still struggle to survive every single day. We will continue to organize in order to demand justice for everyone in our community.”

"I came to the United States in seek of refuge and in search of better opportunities to get ahead,” said Milton Day, member of New Immigrant Community Empowerment. “While we continue to fight for immigration reform, we call on the President to issue an executive order providing administrative relief for people like me to live without fear of deportation, to work and live in dignity.”

“I know firsthand how important a path to citizenship is. My family was granted relief enacted by conservative Republican President Ronald Reagan. The time is now for congress to take action and the President to grant relief to millions of families like mine,” said Julian Pimiento, a member of 32BJ SEIU.

The town hall closed with a powerful performance bringing together musicians, dancers, and undocumented mothers to call on the public to stand with immigrant families in the fight for dignity, respect and administrative relief.

Participating Organizations:

32 BJ
African Services Committee
Alliance of South Asian American Labor
American Families United
Arab American Association of New York
Bangladeshi American Democratic Society
CAMBA Legal Services
Chinese Progressive Association
Citizen Action NY
CUNY Dreamers
Faith in NY
Immigrant Movement International
Judson Memorial Church
Queens Community House
La Fuente
Long Island Civic Engagement Table
Make the Road New York
MinKwon Center for Community Action
New Immigrant Community Empowerment
New Sanctuary Coalition
New York Immigration Coalition
Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights
NYS Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform
The Black Institute
The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Inc.

An executive order to stop deportations might be delayed again, this time until after November. Senate Democrats are getting nervous about the upcoming elections and want President Obama to act with caution.

—> Edited by Anibal Ibarra

No comments:

Post a Comment