Under President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, young undocumented immigrants can apply for a two-year reprieve from deportation, but many potential applicants still have questions about how the plan will work. The New York Immigration Coalition and other organizations tried to address some of these questions at a forum last week, reported the World Journal in the article translated from Chinese below.
On August 15, the deferred action plan began to accept applications from young illegal immigrants. The New York Immigration Coalition celebrated the victory at St. Mary’s Church. Many organizations also provided free legal advice at the forum, assisting hundreds of applicants who had questions or concerns about the process.
The Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, Chung-Wha hong, said that after many struggles with immigration reform, “deferred action” is finally set up. Immigrant groups can use this opportunity to help themselves, and many young people can live, work, and accomplish the American Dream.
Fatima Shama, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, said that the city has set up an official website and a 311 hotline to provide more information about the program and assist applicants. According to Shama, these young people are the future of the nation, and they need the compassion of society. The speaker of the New York City Council [and mayoral contender] Christine Quinn said that deferred action is only the first step. In the future, it is important to push for the passage of the DREAM Act.
City Council members Robert Jackson and Ydanis Rodriguez, who came along with Quinn, also brought good news. The City Council’s Immigrant Opportunities Initiative has been granted $3 million in funds. The funds will be used to help qualified young illegal immigrants with free legal assistance. They warned that fake or unauthorized lawyers or legal organizations that target young illegal immigrants scam the youngsters who are eager to achieve their dream.
The IOI has authorized three community organizations to use foreign languages to provide free legal assistance to young illegal immigrants and to prevent immigration fraud. These three immigration organizations are as follows:
* The Legal Aid Society, at 111 Livingston Street, 212-577-3300
* New York Legal Assistance Group, at 7 Hanover Square, 212-613 6597
* Legal Services NYC, which can be reached at the following numbers: Queens 347 592-2180、Manhattan 212 348-7449、Brooklyn 718 636-1155、Staten Island 718 233-6480、Bronx 718 928-3700.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, the United States has about 1.76 million young illegal immigrants who are qualified for Deferred Action. New York State has 110,000 people.
Emily Park, a 15-year-old Korean student who is undocumented, said that no matter how hard she works, she always faces discrimination. Deferred Action allows her to live without fear or anxiety. Ms. Lin, who is Chinese and attended the forum, said that this policy benefits all the immigrants. Chinese immigrants have worked hard, she said, and this policy allows them to have a better future.
More information can be accessed at www.thenyic.org.