Casa prepares deferred action applications

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On Saturday, August 18, around eighty undocumented latino youths showed up at Casa Guanajuato in Moline to

apply for the Obama Administration’s new immigration policy, formally known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program, which would grant two-year deportation deferrals and temporary work permits for as many as 1.7 million foreign-born youth over the next few years, opened for applications on Wednesday, August 15.

Casa Guanajuato has been helping young immigrants and their families become informed about the program since it was announced in June. Dolores Tapia, Director of Advocacy and Case Management at Casa Guanajuato, recommends that young people hoping to take advantage of the program consult a non-profit organization.

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“People who might have any issue- who might not met all the criteria 100%- get opinions from nonprofits that have no monetary interest and have their best interests at heart,” says Tapia.

Casa Guanajuato charges $150 for the application preparation in addition to the $465 United States Citizenship and Immigration Services fee. Tapia says that while their fee may seem high, it can cost thousands through other service providers.

Fabiola Navarro, 22, and Gabriel Aguilera, 22, both of Moline, talk while filling out their applications for deportation deferrals and work permits under the new deferred action immigration policy at Casa Guanajuato in Moline on Saturday, August 18. Both graduated from Moline High School in 2008 and have two children together. “I think it’s a great opportunity to at least have some documents- even to go to the store people ask you for ID,” says Gabriel. “[With documents] you can get a job and not be scared.”

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Casa081812_03Fernanda Morales, 15, of East Moline. “I want to be a paramedic,” says Morales. She’s hoping that the work permit and identification documents she will get thanks to the deferred action policy will let her go to college after she graduates from United Township High School. “It’ll give me a better education in college so I can get my degree.”

Karla Mojica, 21, and her brother Silvestre, 17, of Rock Island, both U.S. citizens, volunteer at Casa Guanajuato in Moline. On Saturday, August 18, they helped administer paperwork for undocumented youth applying for the deferred action program. “It’s important for people,” says Karla. “They’re finally going to be able to do something after high school- for this country and for themselves.” The siblings wanted to help out because their father was once undocumented and they know the hardship that a lack of legal status brings. “I just love helping my people,” says Karla.

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