Immigration experts are encouraging undocumented San Francisco youths to prepare for next week when they will be able to apply for deferred deportation.
The policy change, announced by President Barack Obama in June, provides a two-year deferral of deportation for people who came to the U.S. before the age of 16, are under 31 years old and meet other requirements.
The first day to apply for the policy is Aug. 15, and members of the coalition San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network encourage people to prepare ahead of time.
“Start obtaining documentation, school records, medical records, anything with a name and dates,” said Laura Sanchez, an immigration attorney with the Central American Resource Center, a group in the coalition.
Other eligibility requirements include having resided continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007; currently being in school or having obtained a high school diploma; and having not been convicted of a felony offense or a significant misdemeanor.
Sanchez said applicants also need to be aware of the $465 application fee.
“It’s a significant amount of money,” she said. “Imagine having multiple family members who may qualify.”
Anoop Prasad, an immigration attorney with the Asian Law Caucus, said many people are wary of applying because they believe it could put their undocumented family members who are not eligible for the program at risk, but that’s not the case.
Emmanuel Valenciano, a 24-year-old San Francisco State University student, said he is an example of an undocumented immigrant who plans on applying for the policy. He said he was moved to the U.S. from the Philippines at age of 13.
Valenciano said “it was amazing” when he heard of the new policy, but said “it’s only a temporary” fix for undocumented youths.
For more information on the deferred action process, visit www.uscis.gov.