There have been various protests and speeches around DACA, which protects immigrants who came to the U.S. without documentation as children from deportation. Now, the deadline to end DACA is here, Monday, March 5. Roughly, there's about 25,000 DACA recipients in Arizona and an estimate of 700,000 worldwide. Congress was supposed to do something, but nothing has been done just yet.
Should DACA recipients be worried?
"Yes," according to immigration lawyer Emilia Banuelos, who came to 12 News and gave our viewers a better understanding of what exactly this means to the community, especially DACA recipients and future applicants.
We suggest you listen to the entire interview to get a better understanding of the questions and answers in their entirety.
If you have any further questions, please tweet me at @ozzy_mora. Immigration lawyer Emilia Banuelos does suggest that one should talk to a lawyer prior making any decisions around this topic of conversation.
Ozzy: How did this happen? How did we get here? It goes all the way back to the Obama era.
Emilia: It's very confusing, we are going through very confusing times. Basically, it does go back to when President Obama issued an order protecting so-called DREAMers and this is people who were brought here when they were young to the United States ... it was a was a special order to protect students from deportation ... when the new administration came around, they basically in September, the President (Trump) announced that he will cancel DACA. He basically did this trying to force Congress to act and he (Trump) said that by March 5 DACA is over. So, renew for those who can renew, but on March 5, it's going to end, that is so Congress, who has been working on this issue for 21 years, under the Dream Act and different versions of it, since 2001, and basically, Congress has not done anything on the DREAM Act .... "
Ozzy: Should DACA recipients be worried?
Emilia: Yes, they should be worried. This is not a solution. This is just a work permit for those 700 (700,000) who have applied ... a lot of people did not apply (DACA) for this, a lot of people came to my office. A lot of them said that they weren't going to apply, a lot of them are worried: They (government) are going to know where my family is, they are going to know where I am and they are going to come after me when this is over because this only a two-year work permit" ... there is no solution, but we need to put pressure on Congress ...
Ozzy: A lot of people's worries are if DACA were to end, can someone be deported by simply getting pulled over, DUI or even speeding ticket?
Emilia: What has changed is the administrations focus. (Under the) prior administration under President Obama, if you committed a crime or whether crime (you may be deported). Now, if you are undocumented, then you are a priority (for deportation). Just the fact that if you don't have documents, so, that's the fear, the strategy of what we are focusing on has changed to anybody who is undocumented versus those who have committed crimes.
Ozzy: There have been many conversations around DREAMers marrying an American citizen -- is this still considered a pathway to fix their documents?
Emilia: Everybody thinks that if you marry a US citizen, it's just a matter of going to the immigration office and getting your green card --- that's not true .. if you enter the country without documents, you cannot get a green card in the United States. Yyou would have to leave the country and be banned for 10 years, but you could get a -- also waiver for it if you are married to U.S. citizen ... it's a complicated process ...
Ozzy: Let's say my permit is about to expire within a couple months. What should I do?
Emilia: If your work permit is about to expire, try to file within six months, if it's six months you file your application. Send in your $495 for your renewal. If it's been more than a year, and you just didn't renew it, then that's questioned, not sure if they are going to accept it ... I will still go ahead and do it ... if it's more than a year, it was my understanding it will be considered a new application.