Miguel Gulfin, together with his parents — Carmelo and Aurelia — need not go back to the Philippines for now. They were supposed to have voluntarily left for the Philippines September 30.
“This nation is founded on Christian principles and family should be united, should not be separated,” Carmelo was quoted as saying after hearing of the good news.
“I’m so thankful that this is all over, for now,” said Aurelia. “We’re so positive that things will go our way, that favorable resolution will come soon.”
The OER action was in response to a request for deferred action filed on their behalf by FALDEP, represented by Jose Teodoro “JT” Mallonga in light of a new federal policy ordering authorities to exercise prosecutoiral discretion on removal proceedings and suspend deportations of those who pose no threat to national security or public safety.
Mallonga considered this a big victory. However, “they still have to work” to be able to stay in the U.S. for good. The “stay of removal”, he said, “is not an immigration benefit or relief from removal since they are not entitled to apply for employment authorization.”
The Gulfins came to the US on a tourist visa in 1991. They lost their legal status after their asylum bid and Carmelo’s fifth preference petition overlapped, which later jeopardized their change of status applications.
But what concerned the family most was the fate of Miguel who was a minor — seven years old — when his parents came to the U.S. and unknowingly, became undocumented. He grew up in Red Bank, New Jersey where he attended the Red Bank Primary School and the Red Bank Middle School. He graduated high school from the Monmouth Regional High School in Tinton Falls, NJ where his family later relocated.
He finished a two-year associate degree course in automotive mechanics at the Brookdale Community College in Tinton Falls, NJ in May 2011. He was formerly communications major (Films) and was on the Dean’s List at the same college prior to finding out about his parent’s immigration status. After his release from immigration detention, he shifted to Automotive Mechanics so that he could join his father’s car repair business.
Miguel would have been eligible under the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, commonly known as the DREAM Act, which was first introduced in 2001, now pending in U.S. Congress. The bill would provide conditional permanent residency to illegal alien students who graduate from US high schools, are of good moral character, and have been in the country continuously for at least five years before the bill’s enactment if they complete two years in the military or two years at a four year institution of higher learning.
He is the third and youngest child. His oldest sibling, Felix, is a permanent legal resident. His second sibling, Genevieve, is a U.S. Citizen who also has a U.S. Citizen child. Miguel’s extended family are all U.S. Citizens. His paternal grandparents are U.S. Citizens as are the five (5) siblings of his fatherand their respective children.
Both of Miguel’s parents, Carmelo and Aurelia, have available to them an immediate immigration relief in the form of an approved petition from a brother; the immigrant visa under this category is currently available. Likewise, both of Miguel’s parents would have been eligible for Legal Permanent Status if their daughter Genevieve so elects to petition them. Unfortunately for Miguel, he does not have any immigrant relief available to him under the above-mentioned approved family petition filed on behalf of his parents, and has no pending petition filed on his behalf by his U.S. citizen sister.
“The fight has just begun,” Mallonga said. “We are going for a joint motion to re-open with the immigration service. When they re-open the case, we will move for their green card application.”