On Friday, President Barack Obama announced the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s order allowing certain young undocumented immigrants to be able to apply for work authorization and be safe from deportation for a period of two years, subject to renewal. This order will affect thousands of undocumented AAPI young people. The Obama administration announced this policy shift after organizing and mobilization by DREAMers in Los Angeles and across the country who called upon the President to grant them administrative relief according them temporary legal status.
The Obama administration estimates that approximately 800,000 young immigrants will be affected by this deferred action policy. AAPIs compose about 12 percent of DREAMers across the country, according to Undocumented and Unafraid: Tom Tran, Cinthya Felix, and the Immigrant Youth Movement by the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education.
“This is a tremendous victory for all immigrants, and is a testament to the courage and commitment of DREAMers who led the campaign for administrative relief,” said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of APALC. “This also will directly impact thousands of AAPI young people. APALC stands ready to help DREAMers determine if they can benefit from this policy.”
Youth who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible to apply, on a case-by-case basis, for deferred action and work authorization for a period of two years, subject to renewal:
- Came to the United States under the age of 16;
- Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
- Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
- Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
- Are not over the age of 30.
APALC Immigration and Citizenship Supervising Attorney Joyce Noche also warned of potential fraud.
“We are concerned there may be some immigration consultants who may say they can help undocumented immigrants but only after paying a fee,” Noche said. “We would warn community members not to contact these “notarios,” and instead call us for questions.”
To address specific questions about the process of applying for relief, APALC has compiled a list of frequently asked questions for the public. To read these FAQs, click here:
In addition, immigrants who think they may qualify for such relief and live in southern California can contact APALC for questions at (888) 349-9695 and at firstname.lastname@example.org. APALC also can be contacted in the following languages:
- Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) - 800.520.2356
- Khmer - 800.867.3126
- Korean - 800.867.3126
- Thai - 800.914.9583
- Vietnamese - 800.267.7395
More information on the new policy can be found on DHS’s website, www.dhs.gov. Beginning Monday, individuals can also call USCIS’ hotline at 1-800-375-5283 or ICE’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 during business hours with questions or to request more information on the forthcoming process.