LOS ANGELES (Oct. 3, 2012) — Two undocumented immigrants who sought legal help from the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, to apply for deferred action status are among the first immigrants nationwide whose applications have been approved.
A recent New York Times article reported that approximately 29 applications across the nation have been approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – which allows certain young undocumented immigrants (DREAMers) to apply for work authorization and be safe from deportation for a period of two years — since the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applications on August 15, 2012.
“I attribute a lot of my success with applying for deferred action to APALC. I was relieved that I had experienced lawyers helping me put together my packet and representing me in case something went wrong. I felt really confident when my packet was shipped; I don’t think I would have felt the same way if I had sent it myself. My lawyers did a great job explaining what evidence I needed to present and how the process will happen,” said one of the clients, who wished to remain anonymous. “As for getting approved for DACA, it’s great to have some sort of relief for the next two years. This is opening new doors for me, and that’s the most exciting part. I can breathe easier at least for now, but I’m still anxious for a more permanent form of immigration reform.”
The Migration Policy Institute estimates that approximately 1.76 million DREAMers are potentially eligible for this deferred action policy. One out of 10 DREAM-eligible students is of Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI) descent.
On August 9, 2012, APALC opened its doors to help eligible DREAMers prepare their deferred action applications. Since then, APALC has assisted over 800 DREAMers via legal workshops, and provided free full direct representation for approximately 150 applicants. APALC also provided online information to thousands of youth, fielded more than 3,400 calls from across the nation.
“With APALC’s extensive language capacity, we also are one of the only organizations nationwide that can be a full resource to AAPI DREAMers and their families,” said APALC Direct Services Director Anthony Roh.
“We felt that it is critical to provide free legal assistance since there were so many unknowns. We are pleased to have provided the advocacy necessary to obtain approvals for our clients,” Roh added. “We hope other DREAMers come to us for free legal assistance.”
For undocumented youth who need free legal help, APALC is hosting weekly workshops to assist individuals with completing their applications. APALC is providing free direct representation for complex cases.
To schedule an appointment, please call one of the following in-language hotlines:
Chinese (Mandarin & Cantonese): 800-520-2356
For undocumented Asian American youth interested in connecting to other AAPI DREAMers, contact APALC Policy intern Anthony Ng at [email protected].