Throngs of Immigrants Prepare to Apply for Legal Status

Applications will be accepted starting tomorrow
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2012 1:19 PM CDT
Throngs of Immigrants Prepare to Apply for Legal Status
Jose Gonzales, 67, second from left, of Las Cruces, N.M., holds up an American flag during a news conference organized by immigrant advocates in Sante Fe last year.   (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

President Obama's deportation-deferral program begins accepting applications tomorrow, and scores of young illegal immigrants across the nation are preparing to take advantage of it. In California, home to the vast majority of those who are eligible, crowds lined up around the block to get advice from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles this weekend, the New York Times reports. Some have concerns about the program, but many think the benefits outweigh any potential problems, and the government is expecting a huge load of paperwork.

The deferrals are temporary and need to be renewed every two years, and there is also some worry over whether applying will expose one's parents to immigration agents, though officials say it will not. "It's like giving us wings to the people that want to fly," says one 26-year-old who has lived in the US since age four. Applicants who are approved will get a Social Security number and can apply for driver's licenses, financial aid, and professional certificates. Applicants who are denied can't appeal, but can apply again if they don't mind paying the $465 fee a second time. (More deportation stories.)

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