Photo by Flickr user longislandwins/ Creative Commons
Photo by Flickr user longislandwins/ Creative Commons

Last Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants across the country crammed the offices of immigrants’ rights organizations with documents in hand after the application process for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program began.

A week later, many still have questions.

The policy, introduced last June, allows eligible immigrant youth to apply for two-year, renewable relief from deportation, a work permit, and in some states, a driver’s license. Many received the news with hope and enthusiasm, but it also raised a series of concerns and apprehension by others who say there are far too many risks involved.

In our new occasional series published last week, “Diary of a DREAMer,” Dreamer Cee Gee explained her reaction and concern on deferred action:

“”¦I couldn’t help but be happy. I told my mother about the possible opportunities of deferred action and I immediately had phone calls and emails from people showing their support.

As the application process for deferred action began this week, many jumped at the chance. Although I have been anticipating this moment for quite a while, I still have some questions I want to clear up before I actually apply. My biggest concern is: what will happen if Republican Nominee Mitt Romney wins the Election and he refuses to continue with this policy?”

Boyle Heights Beat contributor and East Los Angeles College student Erick Huerta also expressed skepticism. In an interview with KPCC last week, Huerta said he wasn’t so sure he would be clear of deportation if he applied.

“We’re pretty much giving them all of our information, where we’re going to be at, who we are. … We’re giving them all this data. And it’s really scary, because this is the government.”

Immigration activists are aware of the concerns and obstacles faced by undocumented youth. Lawyers have also warned applicants to seek legal help through the process because not all will be eligible to apply. Among the eligibility guidelines, applicants must: be younger than 30; have came to the United States before reaching 16; have lived in the U.S. continuously for five years; have not been convicted of a crime; currently be in school, have graduated from high school or received a (GED) certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.

This week in Boyle Heights, a number of local groups will host informational sessions and workshops on deferred action. Several of these workshops will have a lawyer on hand to answer questions about the application process requirements, and discuss personal situations.

Here’s a list of local sessions also listed in our calendar:

Friday, August 23, 2012
Deferred Action Forum at St. Mary’s Church from 7pm-9pm

Deferred Action Program Q&A at Primera Taza Coffee House from 6pm-8pm

Sunday, August 26, 2012
Administrative Relief Educational Forum- Multiple locations in Boyle Heights
Santa Teresita Church
2645 Zonal Ave
Los Angeles, Ca 90033
2pm-4pm

Our Lady of Talpa Church
2914 E Fourth St
Los Angeles, Ca 90033
1pm-3pm

Dolores Mission Church
171 S. Gless St
Los Angeles, Ca 90033
1:30pm- 3:30pm
 
For more on deferred action visit www.uscis.gov
 

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