How Deferred Action Is Helping Blameless Childhood Arrivals

At 22, immigrant Angy Rivera had never step foot in an airport before. Her mother had brought her to the U.S. 19 years ago on a fake passport from Colombia. With President Obama’s new policy that shelters hundreds of thousands of undocumented aliens, many young immigrants such as Angy are coming out from the shadows and given new opportunities to finally start their lives.

Although Angy grew up in the U.S. and excelled in her schooling, she was not eligible for a social security card, financial aid, a driver’s license, or any sort of identification. For years, her mother warned her to stay away from any place that would require any sort of identification. Growing up among teens who were citizens from birth, Angy was unable to attend any school trips, go abroad, or even drink legally because she was an undocumented alien.  While her other 3 siblings are all natural born U.S. citizens, Angy lived her entire life in fear of being deported at any point in time despite her academic successes and involvement in clubs and activities.

Angy first proclaimed publically that she was an undocumented immigrant at a “Coming out of the Shadows” rally in New York. At first, her mother did not support her endeavors in fear that both of them will be deported. However, she encouraged more young immigrants in the same situation to come out and support the rallies so that they would no longer be invisible to the government. Finally, after President Obama’s speech on July 15th, a new policy stated that “some young illegal immigrants would be allowed temporary status and work permits.” Angy went to see her immigration attorney who started putting together documents for her application for a visa.

“So far, about 180,000 have applied for the program, and nearly 4,600 have been approved, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.” Angy is one of these people who will now have the opportunity to live her life without having to hide. She is eligible to get financial aid for college, travel the world, and drive a car.  She plans to pursue her education studying criminal justice at a local college, and no longer has the fear of being deported or separated from her family.

There are numerous cases similar to Angy’s with immigrants who are invisible in society and do not have the same opportunities as regular citizens have. More importantly, most of these young immigrants were brought to the U.S. as children and grew up in American society. They should not have to suffer the harsh consequences of deportation for their parents’ actions. For more information on how the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals might help you or someone you love, please click here or give us a call at 314-961-8200.