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Children of undocumented unaware of amnesty program

Jacqueline García | 4/10/2014, 11:47 a.m.

“I can finally study … provide a better life for my children,” she said, her eyes filling with tears as her emotions start to get the better of her.

But it’s possible that Tejeda was eligible for financial assistance that would have allowed her to apply much earlier.

Sada said the Mexican Consulate offers “up to $1,000” to help undocumented Mexicans pay attorney and USCIS fees, if they have no other resources.

“It is an effort that we are trying”… “for as long as we have available resources,” Sada told EGP. “In the past two years, 2012 and 2013, we allocated $250,000” to support cases where “the young ones can’t afford the expense,” Sada explained.

Mexico’s Department of Protection told EGP via email that the Mexican consulate has so far helped 261 Mexican students pay their fees. They are currently working with six nonprofit organizations in Mexico to raise money to help more students.

Applicants must provide proof for every year they claim to have been in the country. Each year that goes by means more documentation that must accompany the application. Many times applications are denied or delayed because the applicant did not provide “sufficient evidence of continuous presence” in the country, immigration Attorney Nora E. Phillips told EGP last week while assisting applicants at the consulate’s workshop.

“You have to prove you have been in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 until the present, including June 15, 2012,” Phillips said. The more time that passes, the more difficult the process becomes, she said.

“A lot of them [DACA applicants] came with a lot of documents and a lot of them came with nothing,” she said. We start the application for those with the information required, but for those who do not have what they need, “we do a quick screening and refer them to attorneys at nonprofit organizations” for follow-up help, she said.

According to USCIS’ latest numbers, as of Feb. 6 of this year, 521,815 applications have been approved. Of those, 403,302 were immigrants from Mexico, followed by 19,089 Salvadorians, 12,339 Hondurans and 12,410 Guatemalans.

According to the USCIS website, any individual who meets the DACA requirements is eligible for deferred status even if they are “in removal proceedings with a final order or with a voluntary departure order, as long as they are not [already] in immigration detention.”

USCIS also states that it is very unlikely individuals who apply but are not granted deferred action will be deported. “If your case does not involve a criminal offense, fraud, or a threat to national security or public safety, your case will not be referred to ICE for removal proceedings,” according to USCIS.

New Anerican Media