by Rhonda Beassie*
I’ve heard the Obama Administration has made changes in the rights of undocumented students. What do SHSU students need to do to take advantage of the changes?
President Obama’s June 15, 2012 announcement marks a significant change in U.S. policies for young undocumented immigrants, often called the “dreamers.”
Many who came to the U.S. as children will be able to avoid the threat of deportation for at least two years and may legally secure employment in this country. Before taking any action, first be sure you qualify. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) states that while decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, in general those eligible must provide documentation to show the following:
- Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
- Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
- Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
- Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
- Are not above the age of thirty.
Unfortunately, the announcement comes in advance of the actual procedure to file for and obtain status under this policy. Such procedures will be implemented over the course of the next 60 days. For now, any student who is detained and subject to deportation, should seek the assistance of an immigration attorney and may also contact the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 and ask for a review under the new polices.
Once this policy is implemented (keep watching for updates), it is expected that qualifying dreamers will be eligible to work through applying for a work permit with U.S. Customs and Immigration Service and paying the $380 fee. This should open the door to internships and legitimate work experience previously unavailable to undocumented SHSU students.