Last Thursday night marked one of those moments that, years later, you remember exactly where you were when it happened. Though largely ignored by mainstream media, Latinos and other affected communities around the country were pretty much GLUED to their screens of choice to witness the historic moment when President Obama announced his decision to use his executive powers to relieve up to five million families from the threat of being separated. Though the measure does not cover up to 7 million immigrants, it was nonetheless welcomed as the silver lining in a situation that has been long, drawn out, and tormentous at best due to Congress’ failure to pass legislation on the issue. A limited, temporary fix, the President’s policy directive builds upon the success of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to extend temporary deportation relief and work authorization, among other benefits, to an additional number of DREAMers as well as to qualifying parents of citizen and resident children. The response from the community has been overwhelming, if not joyous. In an instant, up to five million families and their children, were given the chance to build a full, productive, decent, HUMAN life out of the shadows for themselves and their future generations. Let that sink in for a second.
At the same time, many questions remain as people scramble to understand how the details affect their personal situation, how to get ready for when the application process finally begins in the Spring of next year, and exactly what’s going to happen to the ones left behind. To answer some of the questions in everyone’s minds, I invited a group of activists and community leaders to discuss them:
- Alejandra Saucedo from @DREAMersMoms
- José Diaz from @DCDream
- Andrea Mercado from @We Belong Together,
- Julieta Garibay from @UnitedWeDream, and
- Immigration Lawyer M. Lucero Ortiz
They applauded the President’s move but stressed that their fight is far from over: They will not rest until Congress and the soon-to-be new Senate work to pass a permanent solution to the immigration crisis, until the 6-plus million immigrants left behind by this action can also get a chance to live a dignified life in the country they have come to love.
Below are some of the main points and resources they shared, with additional sources added for clarification. If you know of any other resources, please share in the comments!
OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS AND FACTS SHEETS
USCIS BREAKDOWN OF INITIATIVES, AND HOW TO APPLY:
WHITE HOUSE FACT SHEET IMMIGRATION ACCOUNTABILITY EXECUTIVE ACTION:
- TO CONTACT CONGRESS AND DEMAND THEY PASS AN IMMIGRATION BILL, CLICK ON THIS WEBSITE TO FIND YOUR LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS OR CALL THE U.S. CAPITOL SWITCHBOARD: 1-202-224-3121.
- TO CONTACT THE SENATE AND ASK YOUR NEWLY ELECTED SENATORS TO SUPPORT COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM, CLICK ON THEIR OFFICIAL DIRECTORY. (If they don’t appear on the list yet, contact the U.S. House of Representatives, or a Senator in your State Legislature).
WHO QUALIFIES FOR THE DIFFERENT PROVISIONS:
¿Califican tus padres para el programa de Acción Diferida para Responsabilidad de los Padres (DAPA)? Para calificar, deben cumplir los siguientes requisitos:
1. Ser padres de uno o más niños que sea(n) ciudadano o residente americano y que haya(n) nacido(s) el día o antes del día 20 de noviembre de 2014
2. Los padres deberán estar en los Estados Unidos desde el 1ro de enero del 2010 o antes (al menos los últimos 5 años)
3. Estar presentes en los Estados Unidos en el momento del anuncio, el 20 de noviembre de 2014
4. No tener ningún estado migratorio en la fecha del 20 de noviembre de 2014
5. Poder pasar chequeo de seguridad y chequeo de antecedentes criminales, mostrando no tener ningún record. No pertenecer ni calificar para la categoría de deportación prioritaria*.
* Consulte con un abogado para delineaciones más detalladas sobre esta categoría
CHANGES UNDER THE #DACA EXPANSION:
¿Qué cambios conlleva la expansión de DACA?
1. Ya no hay límite de edad: El requisito de ser menor de 30 años para calificar ya no aplica, siempre y cuando llenes el resto de los requisitos.
2. Para calificar ahora, deberás haber vivido en los Estados Unidos por lo menos desde el 1ro de enero de 2010.
3. El permiso por DACA ahora dura unos 3 años: A partir de ahora, las personas que soliciten o renueven sus permisos de DACA lo obtendrán por una duración de tres años en vez de sólo dos.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING IN ORDER TO GET READY TO APPLY:
1. Register to receive notifications from UWD
2. Confirm/Provide proof that you are physically in the country at the time of the announcement
3. Be on the alert in order to avoid scams from notary publics and others who may want to take advantage of unwary people. Visit the USCIS pages on
4. Get your documents together: Passports from your country of origin, any documents that confirm when you first arrived in the U.S., how long you’ve lived here, including dates along the way, etc.
5. Start saving money: The cost of the application will be approximately $500 per person applying.
ORGANIZATIONS AND INITIATIVES HELPING THE COMMUNITY GET READY // ORGANIZACIONES BRINDANDO ASISTENCIA EN EL PROCESO DE SOLICITUD (Most are bilingual):
- DCDream | DCSueño: Assistance with DACA Renewal application, DACA clinics, help for undocumented youth to access college and more
- United We Dream: Up-to-date information, resources, DACA clinics, help with legal fees, and the DREAM Educational Empowerment Program (DEEP) and more
- DREAMers’ Moms: Immigration Clínics to educate about immigrant rights, application process and DACA benefits
- EstamosListos.org: A partnership between DC Dream, ALM Immigration and DREAMers’ Moms with the latest updates, DACA/DAPA clinics in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, California, Texas and Utah
- We Belong Together: Petitions, resources and information from a women’s priorities perspective
- Mia – Movement of Immigrants in America: Up-to-date information, resources, comprehensive guides
- National Bar Association: Pro bono legal services and legal orientations for immigrants