Undocumented youth will learn this week the guidelines to apply for the deferred action program that will halt the deportation of about 800,000 undocumented youth and grant them work authorization.
The application is set to be available Aug. 15, but there are things they can be doing already.
As the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services prepares to release more information this week about the details of the process, VOXXI compiled this checklist of what undocumented youth can do now to prepare.
- Don’t take the bait, just wait. USCIS hasn’t released the application for deferred action, yet notarios and lawyers have been promising undocumented youth to help them begin the application process in exchange for thousands of dollars. Undocumented immigrants are advised not to fall for such scams and to report them at www.stopnotariofraud.org.
- Background yourself. Do a background check on your criminal history. Local county websites or state government websites may provide tools to do a free, open-to-the-public data search. If you suspect that you might have a criminal history, it is recommended that you go through a background check before applying for deferred action.
- Contact a lawyer. Not everyone will need a lawyer to help them fill out the application. If you have a clean criminal background and meet all the other requirements, you may fill out the application without the help of a lawyer. However, others with complicated cases might need the assistance of a lawyer. If so, it would be a good idea to begin looking for one now but it is still advised to wait until the application is out to meet with a lawyer. You can turn to organizations like the National Immigration Law Center and United We Dream for a list of trusted lawyers in your area.
- Collect documents. Create a binder for documents that show, in chronological order, the date you entered the U.S. and prove that you have remained in the country between June 15, 2007 and June 15, 2012. Though documents for only those dates are required, it could help to also include documents dating back to when you first arrived in the U.S. Those documents could include:
- Financial records: lease agreements, mortgage agreements, bank statements, checks, bills.
- Medical records: immunization records, a medical history report from a doctor, medical bills.
- School records: report cards, progress reports, diplomas, transcripts, GED certificates. If you’re still enrolled in school, you will need to submit proof of current school enrollment. This could include a letter from the school, a teacher or a counselor.
- Employment records: Though undocumented immigrants are not legally allowed to work, some manage to do so for employers who don’t ask for a social security number. If so, those individuals should include pay stubs, employment contracts or direct deposit slips. It’s not recommended to include employment records if they contain falsified information.
- Records that show your involvement with a church, a union or an organization.
- Register with the Selective Service. For males between the ages of 18-25, it is recommended that they register with the Selective Service System, which is required regardless of immigration status under federal law.
- Network. Look for immigrant youth groups and organizations to join. All across the country, there are youth-lead organizations that are providing information about deferred action to undocumented youth. Joining these groups will help you stay informed on the latest developments of the deferred action program. Also, many of these groups will provide you with legal help for little or no cost to fill out the application once it becomes available.
- Get informed. Groups all across the country have hosted and will continue to host community forums and webinars to educate and answer questions from undocumented youth about deferred action. Organizations affiliated with United We Dream — the largest organization advocating for the DREAM Act, which has a “deferred action guide” on its website — have hosted more than 120 community forums and have reached more than 80,000 people across the country.
- Build your future. Freshen up your resume and seek job training. Many community organizations and public libraries offer assistance with this.