Deferred action workshop
What: A workshop will present information about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for illegal immigrants
When: 10 a.m. to noon Saturday (doors open at 9 a.m.)
Where: Wood’s Mill High School gym, 715 Wood’s Mill Drive, Gainesville
Nearly 800,000 young illegal immigrants now have the chance to remain in the United States legally following an order from the White House over the summer.
On Saturday, local young immigrants and their families will have an opportunity to learn more about how that order will affect them.
In June, President Barack Obama implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, effectively providing a way for those who came to the United States illegally at a young age to legally stay and work if they meet certain requirements.
A workshop will be held at Wood’s Mill High School to highlight those requirements, field questions about the program and even check documents to see who is eligible.
“There’s a lot of information being put out there in regards to Obama’s deferred action plan and people are confused,” said Greer Peters, parent involvement coordinator at Wood’s Mill. “Some people think it’s called the DREAM Act. Some people don’t even know the difference or that a deferred action plan even exists.
“The workshop is basically to be informative to our students, our parents and the community at large and also to dispel any myths that may be out there about it.”
From 10 a.m. until noon in the Wood’s Mill gym, attendees can get an explanation of the requirements and the program from Atlanta immigration lawyer Charles Kuck of Kuck Immigration Partners LLC.
“There’ll be lots of questions because the program really engendered far more questions than it answered when it initially came out,” said Kuck. “It will give people an opportunity to feel more comfortable about the program.”
In order to be eligible under the program, illegal immigrants must have been younger than 16 when they came to the country, lived here for at least five years, graduated from high school, received a GED or be currently enrolled in either of those programs and have no disqualifying criminal convictions.
Eligible applicants could receive a work permit and avoid deportation.
The workshop is open to the entire community.
“I’m worried that people may not know about (the action plan),” said Peters. “I do have some concerns and fears, but I’m hoping we get the word out and people come and get information.”
Kuck said he and his team will field questions about the program, or any other immigration concerns community members may have, including what will happen to the action plan if Obama is not re-elected.
“One of the questions we always get is: ‘What happens if there is a President (Mitt) Romney in January?’” said Kuck. “My answer is: ‘Look, if I knew that I’d be prophet, not an immigration lawyer.’ But at the same time, Romney has not indicated he would do away with this program. In fact, after the success we will be seeing from the program, both economically and socially, there’s no way a President Romney would cancel this program and take deferred action away from kids. It’s just not going to happen.”
Kuck said his firm has already seen some benefits, especially on the social front, in the wake of the plan’s implementation.
Students in the country illegally are now coming back to school, not dropping out and will be able to produce in the “above-ground” economy, he said.
“Overall you’re going to see that societal impact and you’ll see an economic impact,” said Kuck.
But a part of the workshop, he said, will be to determine who may be eligible and what steps to take to ensure a successful process because applicants get only one shot.
“One of the things about this program is there are no appeals,” he said. “There are no motions to reopen. You lose, you lose and you don’t want to blow your only chance at a future here.”
Doors open at 9 a.m. and after the workshop, attendees will have an opportunity to have individual questions answered.