AFIRE Conducts Immigration Workshop On DAPA And DACA

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (JGL) – Applications for Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will be accepted upon payment of $465, 180 and 90 days, respectively, or late May and late February, 2015, after the announcement of President Obama, according to an immigration workshop conducted Monday (Nov. 24) by the Alliance for Filipino Immigrant Rights & Empowerment (AFIRE) held at its headquarters at 7315 North Western Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.

Citing the websites of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, http://www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction) and the www.iLisReady.org of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), Jerry B. Clarito, Executive Director of AFIRE, said applicants who feel that they are qualified to file applications for the executive actions issued by President Obama last Thursday (Nov. 20) may not have to file at this time but they can now gather documents that they will need if they file their applications next May and next February of the new year.

For parents of U.S. Citizens or lawful permanent resident, who had a child born on or before Nov. 20, 2014, as DAPA applicants, they must have a child, who may be a minor or adult, single or married. They must have continuously resided in the United States since Jan. 1, 2010 up to the present.

They must be physically present in the U.S. on Nov. 20, 2014 and at the time of the filing the application; did not have a lawful status on Nov. 20, 2014; have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or multiple misdemeanor offenses; and can demonstrate that they deserve a grant of deferred action.

DAPA TO COVER 4.1-M

The DAPA applications could benefit 4.1-million immigrants and their families.

For the expanded DACA, those who qualify should be under 16 years of age when they arrived in the U.S. (this removes the upper age limit, which currently limits DACA eligibility to only those youths who were born after June 15, 1981); have continuously resided in the U.S. from Jan. 1, 2010 (this was previously, set June 15, 2007) to the present; physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 at the time of filing the application; did not have lawful status on June 15, 2012; currently enrolled in school, graduated from high school, obtained a GED, are enrolled in GED classes or are honorably discharged veteran of the Armed Forces; have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, multiple misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and are at least 15 years old (may be younger if in removal proceedings).The expanded DACA could benefit 300,000 applicants.

Both applications will be filed with $465 filing fees.

Both DAPA and expanded DACA and pending DACA applications would be extended temporary relief from deportation for three years; would be issued employment authorization for three years (may qualify for social security number and driver’s license) and maybe eligible to travel abroad with advance permission.

DOCUMENTS NEEDED

The documents that these applicants will need are the following: proof of identity like birth certificate, passport or other photo ID; proof of family relationship, among them child’s birth certificate; proof of child’s U.S. citizenship or legal permanent resident  (LPR) status; arrest records (if applicable), including certified dispositions for any arrest/conviction; proof of presence in the U.S. such as school records, tax records, leases, bills, medical records and military records.

In order to avoid falling victims to fraud, AFIRE’s lawyers J.R. Basa and Michael Aguhar said applicants may register for free information session with AFIRE by calling or emailing/visiting 773-580-1025 or afire_chicago@yahoo.com, the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), immigrantjustice.org/adminrelief or calling 312.660.1370 or immigrantjustice.org, adminrelief.org, iLisReady.org or aila.org.

DISTRIBUTION OF FLYERS

During the brief workshop, the group upon suggestion of retired AFIRE President Juanita Salvador-Burris resolved to distribute information flyers among community events, notably during Simbang Gabi (evening mass) or at different churches. There were three pastors, who attended the workshop, namely, Rev. Eli Pascua of the Philippine American Ecumenical Church; Senior Pastor Bert C. Villaluz of Bride of Christ Church; and Rev. Hannah Kardon of the Elston Avenue United Methodist Church. Marlon L. Pecson suggested to tap also the social media, among them Facebook and Twitter, to disseminate the information.

There was also a resolution for those who attended the meeting to hold their own meeting with others in the community by replicating the flyers, including those translated in Tagalog, and distributing these during their meetings as they organize and hold their own workshops and invite them to a larger town hall meeting.

It was also announced that at the monthly meeting on Jan. 21, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. at the Philippine Consulate General at 122 S Michigan Avenue, Suite 1600, Chicago IL 60603, the immigration actions would also be discussed. Parties may RSVP at the Consulate by calling 312.583.0261 or email at chicagopcg@att.net if they wish to attend.

There was an urgency to educate the community as shown by the slow response to the DACA launched in 2012. Out of the 50,000 initial applicants called DREAMers for DACA, only 1,000 were processed as there were lack of applications and there was dearth of information and lack of awareness.

There are an estimated 12-million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. But the DAPA and the expanded DACA and other reliefs that include waivers for other Green Card applicants may only cover about five million, leaving about seven million others in immigration limbo who can only be given benefits by the U.S. Congress. Besides, these deferred actions are only temporary benefits that can be undone by the president, who will succeed Mr. Obama in 2016.

The workshop has resolved that in order for the problem of these millions of undocumented immigrants to get a permanent solution, participants are drafting a petition to the U.S. Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform.

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PHOTO CAPTION

EXECUTIVE ACTIONS WORKSHOP: A participant to the workshop elicits information during the workshop Monday (Nov. 24) by the Alliance for Filipino Immigrant Rights & Empowerment (AFIRE) held at its headquarters at 7315 North Western Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. From extreme right is Jerry B. Clarito, Executive director of AFIRE, Atty. Mike Aguhar (back to camera), Atty. JR Basa, Marlon L. Pecson, Rev. Hannah Kardon, Tess Gutierrez, Sally Richmond, Juanita Salvador-Burris and Senior Pastor Bert C. Villaluz. (JGL Photo by Joseph G. Lariosa)

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