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Posts tagged ‘dream act’

Senator Durbin and Congressman Gutierrez Refuse to Cure Harm Caused to Dreamers

On August 6, 2012, Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman Luis Gutierrez released a video, which purported to give advice to young immigrants interested in applying for Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  In the video, Senator Durbin stated:

“Don’t hire a lawyer or pay a notario…Virtually everyone will be able to go through this process without a lawyer”

Subsequent to the video’s publication, several  immigration attorneys, including Lory Rosenberg,  told Senator Durbin and Congressman Gutierrez that their advice was not only bad but dangerous to applicants for DACA.

I have also provided a few examples of why Durbin and Gutierrez’s video was folly, such as the fact that a substantial amount of people eligible for DACA will also be eligible for better alternative forms of relief, such as but not limited to permanent residency through classification as a special immigrant juvenile, U nonimmigrant status for certain crime victims, or non-lpr cancellation of removal.

Also, the act of applying for DACA comes with the inherent risk of deportation. Do not forget that deportation is one of DHS’s main objectives and that  DACA does not confer any lawful status unto its beneficiaries. As such, anyone applying for DACA is quite literally walking right into the jaws of the enemy with virtually no legal safeguards. In this scenario, most reasonable minds would agree it is important to have an attorney by one’s side.

Apparently, Senator Durbin and Congressman Gutierrez realized their error and erased the video from the internet.  Unfortunately, this was not done to protect the interests of the dreamers but that of their own political images. Why? Neither politician has explained why the dangerous video was erased.

Representative Roybal-Allard made a similar error to that of Durbin and Gutierrez, when she tweeted:

Don’t be a victim: avoid lawyers/notarios charging fees to help w/ your application. Ask local non-profits or my office for help.”

Immigration attorney Matthew Kolken read this and immediately communicated to Roybal-Allard why her tweet was reckless and dangerous. 

Instead of whitewashing her twitter feed, Roybal-Allard responded to Mr. Kolken by apologizing and clarifying, stating that “some DREAMers may require legal assistance but should be wary of unscrupulous individuals charging excessive fees.” It may not be the best response, but it was certainly an improvement over the overly broad statement of “virtually no-one needs an attorney.”

Durbin and Gutierrez know that they gave dangerous advice to dreamers in their August 6, 2012 video. Yet they have done nothing to correct the potential harm they have done.

If the two politicians genuinely had the interests of the dreamers at heart, they would have made another video explaining why their prior video was erased from the internet. In the new video, they would make it clear to the dreamers that they should at a minimum consult with an attorney prior to applying for DACA.

If they do not agree that every dreamer should at least consult with an attorney, they should factually rebut the valid claims made by immigration attorneys.

A couple of dollars never killed anyone. But deportation has.

Senator Durbin and Congressman Gutierrez: Do what is right for the dreamers, not your political careers. Thank you.

USCIS to Release Deferred Action Guidelines at 2 pm today

UPDATE: Click here to USCIS Stakeholder announcement.

According to David Leopold on twitter, past president of AILA, USCIS will release more details on the Deferred Action process today, August 3, 2012, at 2 pm.

We hope that the details released will give us enough information to begin preparing applications so that they can be submitted on or shortly after the application window opens.

As soon as we know more information, we will update here.


Cost for Dreamer Deferred Action Could Cost $485

Details on what will be required to apply for the new dreamer deferred action have begun to leak as the application date of August 15 approaches. According to the AP, the government plans on charging $465 to apply for deferred action.

It appears that the process could take several months from the date of application to the delivery of a work permit. Thus, it is conceivable that the November elections will have already passed before anyone is granted an employment authorization document under Obama’s announcement. Given this delay, it is crucial that all those who have made an informed decision to apply should do so as soon as the window opens. Otherwise, one’s application may be substantially delayed.


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration’s new plan to grant temporary work permits to many young, illegal immigrants who otherwise could be deported may cost more than $585 million and require hiring hundreds of new federal employees to process more than 1 million anticipated requests, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The Homeland Security Department plans, marked “not for distribution,” describe steps that immigrants will need to take — including a $465 paperwork fee designed to offset the program’s cost — and how the government will manage it. Illegal immigrants can request permission to stay in the country under the plan by filing a document, “Request for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” and simultaneously apply for a work permit starting Aug. 15.

Under the new program, which President Barack Obama announced last month, eligible immigrants must have arrived in the U.S. before their 16th birthday, are 30 or younger, have been living here at least five years, are in school or graduated or served in the military. They also must not have a criminal record or otherwise pose a safety threat. They can apply to stay in the country and be granted a work permit for two years, but they would not be granted citizenship.

The internal government plans obtained by the AP provide the first estimates of costs, how many immigrants were expected to participate and how long it might take for them. It was not immediately clear whether or under which circumstances any immigrants would not be required to pay the $465 paperwork fee. The plans said there would be no waivers, but Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress last week that the government would grant waivers “in very deserving cases.” She said details were still being worked out.

“We anticipate that this will be a fee-driven process,” Napolitano said.

A spokesman for the Homeland Security Department, Peter Boogaard, said the plans obtained by the AP were “preliminary documents” and the process is still being worked out. Boogaard said processing immigrant applications under the program “will not use taxpayer dollars” because of the fees that will be collected.

Fee waivers could dramatically affect the government’s share of the cost. The plans said that, depending on how many applicants don’t pay, the government could lose between $19 million and $121 million. Republican critics pounced on that.

“By lowering the fee or waiving it altogether for illegal immigrants, those who play by the rules will face delays and large backlogs as attention is diverted to illegal immigrants,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas. “American taxpayers should not be forced to bail out illegal immigrants and President Obama’s fiscally irresponsible policies.”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services estimated it could receive more than 1 million applications during the first year of the program, or more than 3,000 per day. It would cost between $467 million and $585 million to process applications in the first two years of the program, with revenues from fees paid by immigrants estimated at $484 million, according to the plans. That means the cost to the government could range from a gain of $16 million to a loss of more than $101 million.

The government estimated that as many as 890,000 immigrants in the first year would be immediately eligible to avoid deportation. The remaining 151,000 immigrants would likely be rejected as ineligible.

The plans estimated that the Homeland Security Department could need to hire more than 1,400 full-time employees, as well as contractors, to process the applications. Salaries were included in the agency’s estimates of total program costs.

Once immigrants submit their applications, it could take between two and 10 days for the Homeland Security Department to scan and file it. It could take up to four weeks longer to make an appointment for immigrants to submit their fingerprints and take photographs. A subsequent background check could take six more weeks, then three more months for the government to make its final decision before a work permit would be issued.

Napolitano said new information about the program should be made available by Aug. 1. She has said immigrants would generally not be detained by immigration authorities while their application is pending.