Many Florida residents have been closely following news regarding recent devastation on the West Coast caused by wildfires. The situation has negatively impacted many lives, especially those of undocumented immigrants. While one may not immediately associate adjustment of status problems with national disasters, such as the wildfires, closer analysis of the situation may make the connection quite apparent.
One man recently shared his story after he and his family escaped the fire that ultimately destroyed their home. He is a neuroscientist who was brought to the United States as an 8-year-old child. Like many others in similar situations, the man became part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gave him temporary protection against deportation.
That program was recently rescinded by the current presidential administration. Following the California wildfires (and many other recent national disasters) federal emergency aid was made available to immigrants with proper legal documentation. An undocumented immigrant may apply for aid if a member of his or her family happens to be a U.S. citizen.
The man in this case has a sister who is a U.S. citizen; yet, he hesitated to fill out an application on behalf of his family because he’d heard that doing so may make him subject to official immigration investigation. As it stands, he is not only worried about helping his family recover after the fires but also about how absence of DACA may impede his ability to do so by eliminating his opportunity to seek adjustment of status. Any Florida immigrant experiencing similar problems may wish to discuss his or her situation with an experienced immigration law attorney.
Source: motherjones.com, “Escaping a Wildfire and Fighting to Stay Here“, Maddie Oatman, Accessed on Nov. 27, 2017