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Many people are excited about President Obama’s executive order for administrative relief, but some don’t what it means, who if affects, and how it might affect them, their friends or family. The assumption is often made that only undocumented immigrants benefit from Administrative Relief, but it isn’t just good news for undocumented people. Through Census records, the Pew Center estimates that 9 of the 11 million undocumented immigrants live in mixed status families, meaning that they can have an American parent, sibling, spouse, or child, and therefore this relief affects many more than the estimated 4.5 million that qualify.
Currently, community organizations across Michigan are working on a plan to train volunteers who will disseminate information, help others fill out the forms, and then staff intake workshops that will begin in March, 2015. Adonis Flores, Michigan United Immigrants Rights Organizer, spoke to us about implementation:
“The new DACA guidelines will be expanded beyond the original requirements, so that more people will now qualify now that did not before. The truth is that we have an idea of who might qualify for the extended DACA (or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival for students) and DAPA (or Deferred Action for Parental Accountability for parents), but we cannot be sure who will or will not until the forms are posted publicly by United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS). The forms previously have been checklists of requirements that a person has to meet to qualify for relief, and details of the documentation needed for verification. We expect to see DACA forms in late February, and DAPA forms in May.
They key ideas right now are:
- It’s never too early to start: begin now preparing documents to prove that a person has been in the United States continuously for 5 years.
- If legal advice is needed, it is highly important to verify that it comes from a licensed attorney who specializes in immigration, and to avoid Notario Fraud.
- Lastly, remember that bad legal advice is irreversible, meaning that if you apply for something that you do not qualify for, or apply incorrectly, it can be considered fraud.
We are excited about the outreach plan. It is largely pro-bono with immigration lawyers and we executed a similar strategy for DACA in 2012.”
It is important to sign-up for USCIS updates because when the forms are released interested persons will be notified, a series of workshop dates will be announced in the near future, and every organization will be encouraged to send volunteers for training so that they can inform their communities in their respective languages.
For more information and to receive updates, we suggest that you sign up for Michigan Immigrants Rights Center’s e-mail list here. You can also visit the Michigan United and Michigan Immigrant’s Rights Center’s websites. To view the original DACA guidelines, please visit the USCIS site here.
Check out Welcoming America’s recently released toolkit for cities preparing for administrative relief.
This video was put together by USCIS to help walk people through the process. While qualifications may be different, this video provides a general overview of the steps, and helpful tips to avoiding immigration scams.