Empowering undocumented young people in their pursuit of college, career and citizenship
DEFERRED ACTION FOR DREAMERS NATIONAL CALL-IN ON JUNE 21, 2012 Link to MP3
On Thursday, June 21st, E4FC held a nationwide conference call to give an overview of Obama's announcement about deferred action for DREAMers. We invited Dan Berger from Curran & Berger LLP, a private immigration law firm that has specific experience and expertise with DREAM Act students, to address common questions and concerns. Attorney Berger has served on E4FC's Case Analysis Service since its inception, and for the past year we've been collaborating with Curran & Berger LLP to offer private consultations to DREAMers across the country.
Introduction by Dan Berger:
Over the years, while others were lobbying, we and E4FC, and others, have been trying to deal with things as they are. We haven't been waiting for a DREAM Act, we've been trying to find short or long term remedies for students one by one under existing laws and programs. This was having some success – and we have enjoyed seeing DREAMers become legal or develop a plan to try.
I was in the middle of a phone call with a DREAMer and his wife on Friday morning, trying to do just that, when an email popped up about the President’s speech announcing Deferred Action. Immediately the questions ran through all of our heads – should DREAMers be excited or nervous?
The answer, I think, is both. This is exciting – having the President say that DREAMers are Americans is exciting. Having the President say that his administration will stop removing DREAMers, and not put more of you into deportation proceedings is exciting. And having a path laid out for work authorization and Social Security numbers is exciting.
But there are a lot of questions still – what kind of proof will be required? How long will it take? What happens if Mitt Romney wins the election? What about the DREAMers with arrests, or deportation orders, or who’ve left and re-entered?
Today, and as long as this program lasts, we will work with E4FC and other groups to try to get information out to you so you can make good decisions. I know that another nonprofit is also having a seminar tonight, and we're going to be partnering with as many of the key players as possible to answer questions.
I encourage all of you to take a deep breath, and not make a final decision about whether to apply right now. You can't apply at least until DHS comes out with the procedure to apply, and that will probably be another six weeks or so. For now, think about it, read about it, and consider your goals and other options. DREAMers come in all personality types – some just want to try something, anything. Others are more cautious, and want to wait for a safe, clear path.
The good news is that the immigration community has lots of experience with confusing new programs. It's really only once in a generation that there is a broad, new immigration law. And it's been a while since we've had this kind of large scale opportunity.
We're used to counseling people around uncertainty, and making sure clients have enough information to make good decisions. In particular, we want to make sure that you understand the new program – with all its benefits and warts – and also not forget to keep looking for longer-term options.
CAVEAT: I do have to make a lawyerly disclaimer. This call is meant to provide our interpretation of where things stand. I talked to another attorney who was doing another similar call today. We talked before and after our calls, and we shared ideas, and realized that we each had insights that the other did not - this program is still less than a week old. Some of the information we give today will be opinions and judgment calls, and some of our advice will change over the next few months as details come out. Finally, each individual situation is different. We hope this information helps you understand, and ask good questions, and make good decisions. If you have additional questions, please forward them to us or to E4FC and we will try to add those to our FAQs online. And if you need specific legal advice about your situation, contact a legal service provider.