Deferred Action Workshop provides information for minority students seeking work permits

Eduardo Alvarado and Eduardo Alvarado

Both students and parents gathered from all around to attend a free informational workshop for President Obama’s Deferred Action Policy Program hosted at the Cerritos College Health Science Building on Sept. 4.

The free workshop, led by Public Counsel Attorney Joseph Weiner, was held to help both students and parents become more aware of the program requirements and documents needed before submitting their final paperwork.

The program is aimed toward people who meet several key guidelines and would then be eligible for work and travel authorization in the United States.

Cerritos College President Dr. Linda Lacy was present during the opening of the workshop.

She shared a personal experience with a former student from Riverside Community College.

She went on to describe to the audience that the student was a model student with a 4.0 grade average, an excellent personality, but was an undocumented citizen and therefore could not be employed after many years of hard work.

Lacy stressed that our country as one was moving toward the right direction for equality for all.

Weiner was there to inform the workshop attendees about the program and answer questions they may have had.

“I think this is a step in the right direction, but it certainly is not enough,” Weiner said in regard to the U.S. moving forward when dealing with immigration.

In order to submit an application, applicants must meet certain requirements such as those being under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 and having arrived in the U.S. before turning the age of 16.

Applicants must also undergo a background check to show that certain crimes have been committed, as well as prove that they have resided in the United States continuously for the past five years.

Potential applicants must also be currently enrolled in school, have had obtained a high school diploma, or have obtained a GED.

The program is also open to those who are currently under deportation proceedings.

Applicants who are interested in applying for the program must also fill out a total of three forms, and pay the $465 filing fee.

The three forms are:

The program will grant those who qualify a two year work permit.

It has also raised the question on what will occur to them after those two years are up.

“We don’t know, no one knows. My biggest guess is that if it’s a Romney presidency he will end the program, but maybe allow people who have previously had Deferred Action to apply later on,” Weiner said.

“If it’s an Obama presidency, he would probably keep the program until the Dream Act passes which would hopefully be within the next four years.

“Ideally everything will be the same, allowing them to re-apply.”

The news of the Deferred Action Program brought many people relief to know that they or close family members would soon be able to legally work in the U.S.

“I am applying for my daughter,” attendee Maria Elena Saragosa said.

“I was very nervous that Obama might not have kept his promise.

“My daughter is currently in Jalisco, Mexico. She has very good grades, but her situation was very nerve wrecking.”

Those applying must be extremely careful when filling out the application as errors may delay the process or might even result in the denial of an application.

Although there’s a process to reconsider an application due to certain mistakes, the decisions are final and may not be appealed.

Potential applicants can download and fill out the official forms over to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

They can also attend a free informational workshop on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. that is set to cover the most recent information about the program.

The workshop will:

  • Help applicants complete their application package from beginning to end, with copies of the application being provided
  • Review application packages by immigration attorneys
  • Provide general information for parents in Spanish

The workshop will be held in the Cerritos College Science Building Room 102 and led by Sergio Infanzon from The Southeast Leadership Network.

Attendee Ana Coranela said, “I am very happy with the news of this program.

“There’s many students who have the desire to work and study, but aren’t able to due to being undocumented. We’re definitely moving toward the right path.”