DREAMers in Hinsdale area seek information
Thousands in line at Navy Pier as Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, take part in a DREAM Relief Day, assisting undocumented students apply for deferred action to stay and study in the United States legally, Wednesday, August 13, 2012 .
Workshops and free legal resources are listed on the justice center’s website at www.immigrantjustice.org.
An online self-assessment to check qualifications for deferred status is at https://dreamerjustice.org.
Be at least 15; but not older than 30 as of June 15, 2012;
Have arrived in the U.S. before age 16;
Have lived here continuously for five years before June 15, 2012;
Have a high school diploma, GED, or be enrolled in high school or GED classes, or been honorably discharged from the U.S. military;
Have no felony convictions, significant or multiple misdemeanors;
Pay a $465 application fee and prove residency over the past five years.
If approved, a two-year deferred status is granted, and reapplication must be made, if the program continues.
Updated: October 7, 2012 6:11AM
HINSDALE — The list of caveats is long, the forms are complicated and the application is pricey, but thousands of undocumented young adults are eager for a path to opportunities denied them.
Applying for deferred action status under the Obama Administration’s discretionary enforcement policy carries both reward and risk, advocates for immigration reform acknowledge, and sound legal advice is essential.
HCS Family Services in Hinsdale would like more information about the application process for some families who use their services.
“I need to have all the information, so I will know which clients will benefit from it,” said Lilly Grimm, a bilingual volunteer.
Mony Ruiz-Velasco, legal director of the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago, said deferred action is a temporary reprieve from deportation.
“This is not a legal status change, but will allow those previously undocumented the opportunity to apply for employment authorization and in Illinois to apply for a drivers license and Social Security number,” Ruiz-Velasco said.
An estimated 15,000 undocumented young adults lined up Aug. 15 at Navy Pier for help with forms on the first day to file, according to the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights in Chicago.
The program is targeted to help high school students, those who have already graduated, or those with an honorable military discharge.
Oscar Sanchez, the general manager of Zak’s Place restaurant in Hinsdale, said he has friends who are going to apply.
“I’m happy for it. It’s a good thing, they will have the opportunity to stay here and have a job,” Sanchez said.
“I wish some of the clients would have sent their kids (to Navy Pier for information about the program),” Grimm said. “We do have quite a few Hispanic clients who have children who are juniors or seniors in high school and don’t know what they’re going to do.”
One man who visited HCS’ food pantry on Wednesday told Grimm his 19-year-old daughter, who graduated from Hinsdale South, had applied at a college in Florida, where she could have lived with relatives. She was denied because she is undocumented, having come with her family to the United States from Guatemala when she was 10.
“They’re just trying to move ahead,” Grimm said.
Instead, if the young woman can’t go to college and can’t find a job, “she’ll end up married at 20 with two kids and that’s the end of your life.”
Jane Michaels contributed to this report. ~.