Undocumented Immigrants Apply for a Shot at the American Dream
New immigration law takes effect
ANCHORAGE - Across the country, tens of thousands of young people lined up to apply for shot at the American dream.
The immigration policy would allow some people to avoid deportation and get work permits, but it isn't a permanent path to citizenship.
“Under Obama's executive order it's only for two years, but also the type of immigration status this is called deferred action which is temporary, which means the government can take it away when the government wants to take it away,” said Robin Bronen, executive director of the Alaska Immigration Justice Project.
The program doesn't apply to every undocumented immigrant, either. To qualify, you have to have entered the country before turning 16, and you must be younger than 31.
You also have to be currently enrolled in school or be a graduate, or have military service, and you can't have a criminal record.
“Immigration is really complicated, there is no line for these children to be on, so that is really important for people to know, there is no line for these children to start lining up on to apply for their immigration documents,” said Bronen.
According to the Pew Research Center, about 10,000 undocumented immigrants live here in Alaska, but only 800 of them qualify for this deferral.
Cendy Delgado, 27, is one of them. We spoke with her back in June.
She told us by email today that she hopes Americans are able to see the benefits this will bring to this country now that they can further their education and become taxpayers.
“They’re young people so they have tremendous amounts of energy that they want to contribute to the places where they live,” said Bronen.
Critics of the policy say it's too broad, and will take jobs away from Americans.
"I think it's going to lead to more illegal aliens coming across the border, and I think it's going to lead to fraud and untold expense for the American people,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch.
But Delgado says, it's a way to finally give back.
The Alaska Immigration Justice Project plans to have a meeting next week, for more information contact 279-2457.