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Fear and politics slow deferred plan for young immigrants

According to recent reports, less than 15 percent of young immigrants have applied for Obama's deferred action plan that would allow them to remain in the country for two years with the possibility of obtaining a work permit. Of the 1.3 million young immigrants who would qualify for the plan that took effect in August, 100,000 of these potential applicants reside in Florida.

As we have discussed in prior blog posts, the deferred action program allows immigrants who arrived in the United States before age 16, graduated from high school or served in the military and who do not have an extensive criminal record can stay for two years without the fear of deportation. Qualified applicants would also be eligible for a work permit and eventually a Social Security number and driver's license.

Immigrant advocates believe that many young qualified applicants are reluctant because of fear of deportation. The six-page application form requires an address and documentation to prove they have lived in the country. The "deferred action" qualification is further complicated by Mitt Romney's announcement that he would shut down the program if elected, putting authorities on notice of those who did apply on record.

While some see the program as a last chance to avoid deportation, others may be waiting to see the results of the election before pursuing their rights under the program. If you believe that you may qualify for deferred action, an experienced attorney can help review your case, determine the best course of action and protect your rights. Since the program took effect, 180,000 people have applied and 4,591 applications have been approved. These applicants have already been given permission to work in the U.S.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, "Few young illegal immigrants take advantage of Obama's deferred action plan," Laura C. Morel, Oct. 14, 2012

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