There has been a lull in the number of young illegals applying for the limited amnesty granted by President Obama from deportation five months ago. Hundreds of Guyanese and other West Indians, based on an informal survey I conducted, took advantage of the relief. However, few Guyanese have filed applications in recent weeks for the relief, according to Guyanese immigration lawyers.
Young illegal immigrants could apply for a two-year deportation deferral and also get legal working papers. The action took effect from August 15 after President Obama made an executive order making the option available for those with a sound educational background and good citizenship. The eligible undocumented immigrants could also apply for a social security number and a work permit.
Congress repeatedly blocked a similar proposal called the Dream Act. But Obama went around Congress and issued an executive order granting the same relief which helped to win over immigrant Americans in November’s general elections that Obama won.
Initially, immigration offices were swamped with applications (DACA forms) for the amnesty, but in recent months the numbers levelled off and declined. It was reported that during the first 15 days 37,864 people applied, according to numbers put out by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Agency. Reports say that during the months of September and October the agency received 108,586 and 117,213 applications, respectively. However, during the first half of November, the USCIS received only 45,272 DACA forms.
Guyanese lawyers attribute the decline in applications to busy schedules or the fact that almost every eligible person had already filed. There is no deadline for people to apply. It is possible some individuals might still be unaware of the policy directive and family members are urged to inform them to take advantage of the relief. However, if they have character issues or matters before the courts, they can be deported. Several community organizations and individuals (including myself) in Richmond Hill have helped with deferred action for young illegal immigrants getting the word out. Indian Desis Rising up and Moving and other organizations have assisted the young illegals. Community newspapers also carried reports informing people of the law and encouraging them to apply for the relief.