While many opponents of President Barack Obama’s offer of deportation relief claim the measure will open the United States border floodgates, the likely result won’t be anything close to that if past history is any guide.
Lukewarm Interest In 2012 Action
That analysis is based on a comparison of a similar program by Obama two years ago, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. In that case, approximately 1.2 million people who immigrated to the United States as children were expected to benefit by meeting the requirements. However, according to the Migration Policy Institute, just 55 percent (roughly 660,000) of that group applied to take advantage of the offer.
Cost A Key Factor
The main drawback according to American Immigration Lawyers Association executive director Crystal Williams is that the expected application fee for this program is supposed to be higher than the $465 that was charged for the earlier measure. With a vast majority of the individuals who would benefit from this (approximately five million people) making low wages, coming up with that amount of money is seen as next to impossible.
The paradox of the situation was crystallized by the League of United Latin American Citizens director of policy Luis Torres, who said, “They almost have to break the law to work, so they’re able to get right with the law.”
Scam Alert Issued
With money already being a major issue for these individuals, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), bar associations and advocacy groups have all issued protective warnings to those who believe they should work with an attorney to complete this process.
The USCIS stated that only licensed attorneys or an authorized expert on immigration legal matters should be consulted. The potential of scam artists charging individuals thousands of dollars for work they can’t provide is the thought behind this information push.
The Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs’ chief of investigations, Rigo Reyes, estimates that there may be as many as 2,500 people attempting this corrupt activity just in California.
Another factor that comes into play is that there is no guarantee that the action will be long-lasting, given the heated rhetoric already coming out of Washington from Republicans. Some of the potential candidates to benefit see the possibility of Congress passing legislation to block it, especially in light of the pending Republican takeover of both Houses of Congress in January.
Add to that the potential of a Republican candidate winning the 2016 Presidential election over the Democratic candidate (since Obama’s two terms will be up), and that likelihood ratchets the fear even higher. That’s because the belief that giving the government their information now may come back to haunt them if there is a shift in political power within the White House.
That was the opinion of 15 percent of the people who chose not to apply in 2012, but David Wolfe Leopold, an Ohio attorney specializing in immigration makes clear that anyone rejected will not be deported automatically. The only instance in which a deportation would take place would be if the person in question is a criminal.
Unavailable Documents For Some
The fact that this legislation will benefit the parents of children already here because of the 2012 action still may not help those who do have enough cash to earn their new status. The problem there stems from the need to have identity and residential documents.
For example, two years ago, applicants were required to show such things birth certificates, pay stubs, medical records. If those parents have been in the United States for an extended period of time, the likelihood of them having the proper paperwork diminishes considerably.
Awareness A Question Mark
One final drawback might be related to overall awareness by those most affected. For example, even though the previous action was aimed at students who more connected to news affecting them, one-tenth of them still had no idea how to apply for the program. Is this an issue that is affecting you or your immigration status? If so, please feel to reach out to us for legal counsel and help.