Undocumented students: Now is the time for deferred action

With the presidential election on the horizon, undocumented students and their families are questioning whether or not they should apply for the deferred action program.

During the Republican Convention, Mitt Romney made no comment about deferred action, leaving undocumented students afraid of applying.

“The Dreamers” do not know whether or not Romney is going to support the action if he is appointed as the next president.

Obama, on the other hand, made the program active before the elections.

He promised undocumented students – the Dreamers – deferred action at the beginning of his presidency, but he didn’t finalize his promise until now.

“We all know it is a political move,” said Raul Z. Moreno, the Fresno State migrant services coordinator.

“I don’t care if it is a political move because as long as President Obama gives my undocumented students something to protect them I am fine with the move.”

“Obama is giving something to my students,” he added. “What is Romney giving them?”

It is highly recommended that undocumented students apply for deferred action as soon as possible.

Moreno urges students not to hesitate or be afraid of the coming re-elections.

But undocumented students are concerned that the action will be revoked and they will get deported.

If you don’t apply for deferred action and the border patrol comes along, you are gone, according to Moreno.

Students and their families are afraid to apply and he understands this.

“Look at the fact that you’re here undocumented. That is already a risk, so if you’re saying that applying for deferred action is a bigger risk, it’s not,” he said.

Janet Napolitano of Homeland Security presented a memorandum  postponing action of immigration laws.

They will not be enforced on persons who were brought as children to the United States.

This allows undocumented students to get a permit to work and gives them a two year break in which they will not be deported or removed from this country — if the applicants meet certain criteria.

“Obama hasn’t done anything,” family attorney Joel Murillo said. “Obama didn’t do anything but support Napolitano, so there has been no action taken by the president as an executive order.”

If deferred action is revoked, there is no recourse – you cannot appeal that.

“If there is an executive order by the president,” Murillo said, “then the president will be able to provide the security of his office to the undocumented students who will be applying under an executive order.”

Murillo is not preparing documents for undocumented students until it becomes a presidential executive order.

In the meantime, he is preparing a petition in support of a presidential executive order.

He will lead undocumented students to a lawyer who is willing to prepare documentation needed for applying.

“I wouldn’t do it myself,” he said. “The risk is that this could be revoked at any time.”

The Consulate of Mexico and Moreno are providing information and guidance for undocumented students who are looking into applying.

They are joining forces with whoever is willing to help undocumented students.

“We, of course, are working with Moreno’s organization and the help center that has been established,” said Reyna Torres-Mendivil, head of the Mexico Consulate.

If eligible, students need to apply as soon as possible. It is a complicated process and undocumented students should take the time, with their families, to gather their documents and ask the necessary questions regarding the process.

“I keep saying this is a family exercise,” Mendivil said. “The family should be engaged preparing the documents before submitting it to the immigration authorities.”

If deferred action is active and a lot of students are taking advantage of it, Romney is not going to do anything about it, according to Moreno.

“This week I have been pushing students a little bit harder,” Moreno said. “Come on – it’s time to move. It’s time to apply for deferred action. It’s their time.”

Students should go to the website for information instead of depending on word-of-mouth. At the end of the day, it is up to undocumented students and their families to apply for deferred action.

Resources are available online to begin the process. The application is at www.da4dc.org. The guidance provided by the Consulate of Mexico offers a helpline at 1-877-639-4835.

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