THIS IS A REBLOG FROM A POST FROM ANTONIO PEREZ ON LINKEDIN NEEDS TO BE SHARED AND SHARED.. ORIGINALLY WRITTEN AND POSTED BY ANTONIO PEREZ ON NOV. 9, 2015 BUT SO RELEVANT NOW.
This post is intended to spread awareness about Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals. Please consider sharing and if you know someone who is a recipient of DACA, please direct them to my linkedin page. Thank you.
What is DACA? On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would stop deporting certain undocumented migrants who came to the United States as children. I myself am a recipient of this program and it has transformed my life. I had very limited opportunities and although things are not perfect as they stand, I’m very fortunate to be where I am today. Under this directive, us youth may be granted temporary permission to stay in the U.S. called “deferred action.” The Obama administration calls this program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
How did this impact the Recipients? I think I can speak for many others when I say that DACA has empowered me to be comfortable with who I am. December 25, 1995 was the day my life would change forever, but i was not old enough to comprehend what was going on. My mom, three sisters, and myself were on our way to the US after my father saved enough money to eventually hire a coyote to bring us over. My dad and older brother had already made the journey a year earlier and realized how much better the standard of living was in the US. Who wouldn’t want a better life for their family? For starters we have socialist schooling systems, prior to coming to the US most of my Dad’s salary went towards my siblings tuition and the rest for food and miscellaneous living expenses. I was always told to keep quiet about my status and how we got here; I was always afraid and felt like a black sheep. When I became a DACA recipient all of that changed. I finally felt like I was an American and could work anywhere I wanted if i worked hard and set my mind to it. I was lucky to be in a state where I could already have a driving license although I have to renew it on a yearly basis; Along with drivers licenses many of us were finally able to seek new jobs, open bank accounts, obtain credit, obtain health care, and increase in our job earnings. This opened my eyes to what’s really out there and not to settle for less.
On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced an expansion of the DACA program. However, on February 16, 2015, a federal district court issued an order to put the “expanded DACA” program on hold. People cannot apply for expanded DACA at this time. However, people who believe they are eligible for DACA under the pre-expansion guidelines may still apply.
Who Qualifies for DACA? To be eligible for deferred action under the DACA program, you must:
- Have come to the United States before your sixteenth birthday.
- Have lived continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007.
- Have been present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and on every day since August 15, 2012.
- Not have a lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012. To meet this requirement, (1) you must have entered the U.S. without papers before June 15, 2012, or, if you entered lawfully, your lawful immigration status must have expired before June 15, 2012; and (2) you must not have a lawful immigration status at the time of your application.
- Be at least 15 years old at the time you apply for DACA. If you are currently in deportation proceedings, have a voluntary departure order, or have a deportation order, and are not in immigration detention, you may apply for DACA even if you are not yet 15 years old.
- Have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. armed forces, or “be in school” on the date you submit your DACA application. See below for more information about meeting the “be in school” requirement.
- Have not been convicted of a felony offense. A felony is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
- Have not been convicted of a significant misdemeanor offense or three or more misdemeanor offenses. See below for more information about offenses that may disqualify you.
- Not pose a threat to national security or public safety. (DHS has not defined what these terms mean but has indicated that they include gang membership, participation in criminal activities, or participation in activities that threaten the U.S.)
Why should you consider hiring Deferred Action Recipients? We are Dreamers! We are first generation immigrants who come from hard working families looking for a better future. We have everything to gain, and nothing to lose. Things still aren’t where we need them to be but it’s getting there. Although I’ve been able to comfortably seek jobs, things don’t always go my way. We are still unable to join any military program, but we are able to sign up for select service. Before going through the lengthy hiring process with the United States Postal service, I asked if they would hire DACA recipients which they said they would. I don’t think the public fully understand how this program works as we are not granted residency, but are permitted to stay nonetheless. I went through the interview process and the required tests, driving all over the state only to be denied while handing in my W2 and other paperwork because of my legal status. We put our hearts and souls into everything we do because we know the sacrifice our parents gave us in order to put us in a position to live the American Dream. At the end of the day we’ve spent the majority of our lives in the US and are just like other Americans, but don’t have the same opportunities or benefits that others take for granted. I didn’t choose to come here, but i’m choosing to stay.
J. Antonio Perez
Please click ‘Follow’ if you would like to hear more from me in the future. Please share with anyone you know who is a DACA recipient or if you are one yourself, please connect with my on linkedin. I would like to establish a group on linkedin to network and share ideas. Dream Act Group