Today, children of illegal immigrants can come out of the shadows

Children of illegal immigrants reacted with joy to the news in June that President Obama was offering a chance for younger illegal immigrants to stay in the country and work. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Brad Loper)

Children of illegal immigrants were overjoyed with the news in June that President Obama was offering a chance for them to stay in the country and work. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Brad Loper)

Today, hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought to America as children can begin seizing the opportunity to live and work legally in the United States.

A new Obama initiative –Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals –  allows undocumented immigrants from the ages of 15 to 31 to apply for a work permit. Estimates are that more than a million young people are eligible.

The Obama initiative represents more of a reprieve than a redemption for these teens and young adults, many of whom have lived in the United States since childhood. It does not create a path to citizenship but does defer deportations and permit young undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows.  The deportation deferrals last two years, and must then be renewed.

The work permits essentially allow holders to live in the daylight; they will be able to obtain Social Security numbers and driver’s licenses and apply for financial aid for college. They will be able to open bank accounts and seek certifications to work as nurses and electricians.

Workshops on how to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals permits — which require a $465 fee — have been inundated with attendees. News photos show lines of people waiting for help snaking around the blocks. Many of those in line were carrying proof of their good character and their lives in America,  including school awards, rent checks, diplomas, tax records, immunization records and pay stubs.

According to the AJC:

Alexandra Alor follows a simple system to elude immigration authorities. An illegal immigrant from Peru, Alor doesn’t venture out of her home in DeKalb County when she sees police setting up traffic stops nearby or hears about them on Hispanic radio stations. That system has worked for the 17-year-old Lakeside High School student ever since her grandmother illegally brought her to the United States about 10 years ago.

Now she sees an opportunity to remain here without the nerve-racking fear of deportation. She plans to apply for special consideration this week under a controversial new policy the Obama administration announced in June. The policy applies to illegal immigrants who were brought here as young children, who have not committed serious crimes and who are now in school or have graduated.

Proponents say the policy is a humane way to boost the U.S. economy by keeping educated immigrants such as Alor here. Critics say the White House is pandering to Hispanics for votes with its election-year announcement, and that the move could take jobs away from American citizens. They also worry the changes could send the wrong signals, inviting more people to enter the country illegally. The government’s new approach comes as Georgia is battling in federal court for permission to enforce several tough measures aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration.

Wednesday is the first day immigrants such as Alor may start applying to the government for “deferred action,” or a promise that they won’t be deported for two years. Alor can apply again in two years. She also plans to seek permission to work legally here as part of the same process.

Nearly 1 million immigrants across the U.S. are now eligible for deferred action, according to an estimate by the Immigration Policy Center, an arm of the American Immigration Council, an immigrant rights and policy group in Washington. Of those, 24,360 live in Georgia, the eighth-largest total among states.

And here is an excerpt of a Washington Post story:

According to the Washington Post:

“People are very, very anxious to file, so we’ve been telling them to over-prepare,” said Emid Gonzalez, manager of legal services at Casa de Maryland. The group has scheduled an afternoon workshop Wednesday at which she expects to see family documents by the armload. “The phone has been ringing off the hook.”

On Antonio Aleman’s dining table in a double-wide trailer in Suitland, the pile of birth certificates and school transcripts has grown to nearly a foot tall as he prepares to sign up his two children, 15 and 21. With his wife Ruth slapping fresh tortillas in the kitchen, Aleman sorted through his daughter Beatrize’s academic bona fides, including a certificate of achievement from Surrattsville High School.

“I think they will qualify. They are good students; we’ve been working hard, paying our taxes,” said Aleman, 43, a bakery truck driver from El Salvador who came with his family nine years ago and outstayed their visa. He already bought two money orders for $465 each to cover the application fee. “It’s been difficult to wait. What else do we need? Do we have everything?”

The protected status has to be renewed every two years. And the program’s name, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, may lack the aspirational heft of the “Dream Act.” But immigration advocates are treating today’s launch as a great victory.

“This is single largest opportunity we’ve had since [the amnesty program of] 1986 to bring people out of the shadows and into documented status,” said Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who led efforts to pass the Dream Act in the House only to see it fail in the Senate in 2010. “We’ve got to take advantage of it. Our goal should be to sign them up, sign them up, sign them up.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

104 comments Add your comment

Digger

August 15th, 2012
4:42 am

Thank goodness. We need someone in this country who isn’t afraid to work hard.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

August 15th, 2012
5:14 am

Ao over a million illegal undocumented become a million documented illegals and compete against your Natural born children for jobs and further depress wages for non college skill labor..

Yeah that should sit well with blue collar america haha

God leftists keeps stepping in sh*t

Beck

August 15th, 2012
5:45 am

Trisha –

It’s capitalism; businesses will hire the best person for the job. With this action there will be no more paying under the table b/c it’s legal to work. If Americans don’t like it, they should step it up.

DeborahinAthens

August 15th, 2012
6:10 am

Trisha, your Senator Chambliss, a right wing conservative, likes this. His biggest donors are the agriculture corporations in Georgia that need illegals to work. This is not just a left-wing idea, this is also a right wing idea. The House of Representatives is overwhelmingly Republican. This would not have been passed without Repug backing. It’s interesting that this is one of the few things both parties get behind. You need to read more and stop watching Fox News. Your ignorance is appalling.

mountain man

August 15th, 2012
6:19 am

“It’s capitalism; businesses will hire the best person for the job. With this action there will be no more paying under the table b/c it’s legal to work.”

Businesses hire the cheapest labor they can get for satisfactory work, not the best person for the job. A better American might be willing to work for more money. Companies that pay under the table do so to save money (not paying SS and Medicare tax) and be able to pay less than legal minimum wage.

Lee

August 15th, 2012
6:23 am

““I think they will qualify. … said Aleman, 43, a bakery truck driver from El Salvador who came with his family nine years ago and outstayed their visa.”

Hey ICE, the paper has identified an ILLEGAL ALIEN who is breaking our laws. What are you going to do about it?

Oh yeah. Nothing. Thanks to Obama’s gun-running Justice Department.

Election year politics and law abiding, tax paying LEGAL citizens are taking one up the wazoo once again.

ScienceTeacher671

August 15th, 2012
6:26 am

I don’t care if it’s a right wing or a left wing idea, it bothers me that – at least the way it’s being covered in the press – the President is deciding which laws he will and will not enforce. And I do not watch Fox News.

While I have sympathy for the children who are suffering due to the actions of their parents (but could go back to their home countries and apparently be better educated and more prepared for jobs than most, thanks to the education they got here), illegal is illegal.

And yes, I understand that many of the farmers in Georgia are having trouble finding Americans who will do those jobs, even with our unemployment rate as high as it is.

I think we really need some hard discussions and to make some decisions absent all the partisan rhetoric. And “Stroke of the pen, law of the land, pretty cool,” sounds more like a dictatorship than a democratic republic, whether it’s Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, or Barack Obama applying the concept.

ScienceTeacher671

August 15th, 2012
6:26 am

Wish we had an edit button….sorry for the excessive bold.

mountain man

August 15th, 2012
6:30 am

Governments decide which laws to enforce all the time. Look at the speed limit on interstate highways inside the perimeter…

mountain man

August 15th, 2012
6:31 am

Governments decide which laws to enforce all the time

Georgia’s laws against oral sex by married couples.

wigglwagon

August 15th, 2012
6:40 am

Every Deferred Action that is granted should be accompanied by the permanent deportation of the illegal alien parents who caused this problem.

Joel Edge

August 15th, 2012
6:56 am

“hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought to America as children can begin seizing the opportunity to live and work legally in the United States.”

Along with any who can make up a good enough history and fake it.

Pardon My Blog

August 15th, 2012
7:06 am

@science teacher671 – Well said! And I hope the “bold” statements will get people to think. Wonder if Jessica Coltl (sp?) will be first in line?

JF McNamara

August 15th, 2012
7:24 am

They were going to be here anyway, so the situation is pretty much unchanged. The choice wasn’t deport them all or let them stay. We were never going to deport them. It just assures that we get the best out of them and that they don’t get mistreated.

Tom E. Gunn

August 15th, 2012
7:27 am

Yeah, let’s get them documented so we can deport them after the Czar is thrown out in November!

Mountain Man

August 15th, 2012
7:34 am

Of course, this is merely a temporary, deferred action. The next President (or Congress) could change things and decide to deport all those who signed up. I just wish we would establish a reasonable, enforceable program to address all immigration issues. But we are so schizophrenic about it!

guest

August 15th, 2012
7:37 am

Pardon my blog,

Jessica Colotl will not have to stand in line. She will argue that it isn’t her fault she is here, and therefore, should not have to stand in line like everyone else. In response, the U.S. government will then enact a set of laws that allows them to skip the line entirely.

Aquagirl

August 15th, 2012
7:39 am

illegal is illegal

Being here without proper paperwork is not illegal. And what do you know about returning to a country that you don’t know and have never called home?

Authorities decide what laws to enforce all the time, we can’t possibly enforce every law on the books. If that concept disturbs you, reality must be a very uncomfortable place.

LoganvilleGuy

August 15th, 2012
7:45 am

@DeborahInAthens:

This was not passed via the legislature. This was a unilateral executive branch decision using the concept of “prosecutorial discretion.” Please don’t try and pass this off as a bipartisan decision by our legislature. The results of this action, good or bad, rest solely with our President.

@Aquagirl:

If their actions are contrary to law, their actions are ILLEGAL. The law says that you shall have the proper visa, green card, citizenship, etc. to be in this country. Therefore, if you are here without it, you are illegal.

JF McNamara

August 15th, 2012
7:49 am

@Mountain Man,

This is consistent with our policy of the last 30 years. Its not schizo. Reagan gave amnesty and no other President (from either side) since has strongly enforced the immigration policy because we don’t have the financial resources. We never will have the resources as we can’t even pay our current bills, so its a guarantee that no President will incorporate strict policies.

guest

August 15th, 2012
7:52 am

Wow aquagirl,

“Being here without proper paperwork is not illegal.” That has to be one of the most idiotic statements of the year. So by your logic, if I am walking around inside the White House without proper ID, then i’m not illegally trespassing.

catlady

August 15th, 2012
7:54 am

Well, I rejoice in this! Many of the students that I have taught can benefit from this. I am thinking of a couple of sisters, excellent students, who graduated at the top of their high school classes, got big rides to private college, graduated with every award, academic or otherwise, and cannot legally work in their chosen field. America needs ALL THE SMART PEOPLE it can get; we see what dumb brings us.

Mountain Man

August 15th, 2012
7:55 am

@JF McNamara

It is schizo – we rail against the illegal immigrants for being here, yet we allow them to work by not requiring an effective e-verify system. We say we don’t want them here but we don’t deport them. We say we want them here to work certain jobs, but we won’t create an effective system to allow them to legally work at those jobs. We are constantly saying one thing but doing another. Just like havin a 55-mph speed limit inside the Perimeter!

Mountain Man

August 15th, 2012
7:57 am

“This is consistent with our policy of the last 30 years.”

We have been schizo for 30 years. More like a “don’t ask – don’t tell” policy. We will allow it but don’t publicize it.

GB

August 15th, 2012
7:59 am

The headline is a gigantic lie: no one is currently in the shadows. Deportation is not something illegal aliens fear. Demonstrators and the Ga Capitol display signs saying “Undocumented and unafraid.” They are arrested for disorderly conduct, and then released. They are in custody, known to be illegals, and they are turned loose.

The Kennesaw State student was a cause celebre. She and her illegal alien mother are the subject of a newspaper article and have their pictures in the paper. Their illegal status and their address are known to the authorities. Nothing happens.

Obama’s Kenyan relatives – an aunt and an uncle – are here illegally. The aunt is living public housing on the taxpayers’ dime. The uncle was driving without a license and with lots of alcohol in his blood. They stay.

The young people here -through no fault of their own, as we hear over and over and over – get to stay because our lawless president uses the fact that Congress HAS NOT AUTHORIZED THEM TO STAY as a justification for letting them stay. Mind boggling. But this lawlessness aside, if we know who the illegal kids are we know who their parents are. The parents are not here “through no fault of their own.” But they stay too.

Shadows? What shadows? They are in broad daylight.

Mountain Man

August 15th, 2012
8:00 am

“Being here without proper paperwork is not illegal.”

I don’t know if that is true or not. But to live you have to work, and WORKING here without proper paperwork IS illegal. So is drawing public benefits. If you have people giving you money and providing you with a free life, then maybe you are not illegal, just don’t apply for a job or benefits.

Aquagirl

August 15th, 2012
8:05 am

If their actions are contrary to law, their actions are ILLEGAL.

It’s not a violation of any law to be here without proper paperwork. It’s not a felony. It’s not a misdemeanor. In a legal context, it’s like having a toilet that flushes too much water in certain jurisdictions.

Lee

August 15th, 2012
8:07 am

@Catlady, and I am thinking of the exceptional late daughter of one of my friends, who graduated second in her class with numerous academic awards, who received numerous scholarships to attend college, and was in fact on her way home from college when she was killed in a head-on collision by a drunk illegal alien from Guatemala.

The illegal alien? He survived. Taxpayers footed his hospital bill. He then fled back to whatever cockroach infested dump he came from to avoid the vehicular manslaughter charges.

Van Jones

August 15th, 2012
8:08 am

Is it racist to care more about people of your race than you do for the country you are pleading to be allowed to remain in?

irisheyes

August 15th, 2012
8:12 am

Simple fact: These kids are not going anywhere, because they have no where to go. Many of them have been here since they were little, so this is their home. Would you rather they get paid in cash, and not pay any taxes or get a work permit and pay their full share of taxes (and SS and Medicare, etc.)?

LoganvilleGuy

August 15th, 2012
8:26 am

@Aquagirl:

According to several reputable sources that I’ve located with a simple google search, overstaying a LAWFUL visa in the United States can result in a CRIMINAL RECORD for the rest of your life and is considered a federal criminal offense.

Illegally entering the United States without a visa is also most definitely a criminal offense. If you are caught in the United States WITHOUT a legal visa/authorization, it is clear you entered illegally. If you are here with an expired visa, you can be arrested, deported, and have a criminal record.

I don’t think a criminal record is possible for having a toilet that uses too much water.

Nice try though.

Ann

August 15th, 2012
8:27 am

While I have compassion for the young people who did not bring themselves here, I think this is a terrible idea. These young people are NOT going to be working in the fields in Georgia. They are going to be taking jobs from not only legal, American citizens who are young, but those who are older and unemployed right now. Why do they qualify for federal aid for college? That is INSANE. College costs so very much and they aren’t even here legally!!!! Maybe an exception from deportation for 2 years makes them legal for two years, but exactly when are they paying back the student loans. Oh wait, maybe I should be asking about them getting PELL Grants. It just gets more stupid every day.

LoganvilleGuy

August 15th, 2012
8:30 am

@Aquagirl:

A simple google search turned up several reputable sources that say being here with an expired visa can result in a criminal record for violating federal laws. It can lead to arrest and deportation.

Other google searches found several reputable sources that say entering the country without proper documentation is ILLEGAL and can result in arrest and deportation.

So let me break it down for you: Overstaying your visa? Criminal and can trigger a criminal record, arrest, and deportation.

Here without a visa or authorization? You entered illegally, contrary to law, and can be arrested and deported.

Flushing a toilet that uses too much water? Maybe a ticket. No arrest. No criminal record.

Nice try with the comparison though.

Edward Beazley

August 15th, 2012
8:32 am

The country is going to the dogs.

teacher&mom

August 15th, 2012
8:35 am

Simple facts:

Deporting so many undocumented individuals would require a huge undertaking and expense.

Deporting over a million plus individuals would create an economic black hole. If we were to somehow lose that many consumers in a year, we would cripple the economy.

Both parties will quietly acknowledge, behind closed doors, that this initiative is a move in the right direction to address the problem. No one wants to admit in public what common sense dictates.

Document them and let them pay taxes.

J Haggarity

August 15th, 2012
8:36 am

“businesses will hire the best person for the job”

No, businesses will hire the cheapest person for the job. Government endorsed slave labor is all this is. Keeping Illegals here ensures entitlements are kept alive and creates a larger welfare class.

These children of Illegal immigrants have been raised to lie, cheat and steal from Americans. They have been taught how to be con artists, smiling agreeably at their supporters while they steal from the American taxpayers. The blind compassion crowd are either foolish or are the true benefactors of an Illegal alien welfare class.

It is a disgusting state of affairs that many of you have endorsed this probelm and don’t care about the security and survival of your own country. You have shown that you care more about the people using you as a pawn than your own next door neighbor. It’s no wonder America is the laughing stock of the World. You a the reason why America is a toxix waster dump instead of a melting pot. So glad you are proud and beating your chest today!

Rick in Grayson

August 15th, 2012
8:40 am

Another example of Democrats and the Obama administration placing the interests of illegal aliens and their chilldren above those of US citizens and legal residents.

Obama and the Democrats want everyone to be dependent on the government, more entitlements, more debt and deficits, higher unemployment. There is only so much that taxing the “rich” can do to move our economy and how does it affect the motivation of individuals to take on additional risk when the government always has their hands in that individuals’ pocket?

Make those who are unemployed perform some kind of work for their welfare checks….no, no…Obama wants to relax those welfare work rules.

Punish those who break our immigration laws? No, Obama and the Democrats REWARD them!

Is this the kind of President and government you want?

Aquagirl

August 15th, 2012
8:42 am

According to several reputable sources that I’ve located with a simple google search, overstaying a LAWFUL visa in the United States can result in a CRIMINAL RECORD for the rest of your life and is considered a federal criminal offense.

I’ll see your “reputable sources” you didn’t bother to link (was that too much trouble?) and raise you a Chris Christie.
http://www.nj.com/morristown/index.ssf/2008/04/christie_clarifies_illegal_imm.html

Nice try though, with the “I found reputable sources that I somehow failed to post, but trust me on this, I know what I’m talking about even though I don’t.” Mr. Christie has held a full time job as an attorney dealing with these things, he probably knows the laws a little better than you or I.

Rick in Grayson

August 15th, 2012
8:42 am

Make E-Verify mandatory and illegal aliens will self deport!

At least we will know the names and locations of those illegal aliens. After 2 years, we can pick them up and deport them all.

Ronin

August 15th, 2012
8:43 am

Both parties want the benefit of illegal aliens. The Dems for votes, the GOP for cheap labor. And yes, all politicians are selective on law enforcement, not just the POTUS.

Aquagirl

August 15th, 2012
8:50 am

According to several reputable sources that I’ve located with a simple google search

Please do cite your source. I found an opinion by Chris Christie which disagrees with your assertion. If you google “Christie clarifies: ‘Illegal’ immigrants are in civil violation” you’ll see the article. I think this blog is picky about posting links.

Gov. Christie was a U.S. Attorney for several years and now runs a state. He probably knows a little more about this law and unlike you, he’s got a real law degree, and it’s not from the University of Google. You’re free to cling to your googled assertions. Let me know how that works out.

sldkfjslk

August 15th, 2012
8:55 am

Just got done writing a recommendation for a former student. Got to get back and plant some more seeds.

Howard Finkelstein

August 15th, 2012
9:01 am

Oh good. Whats next, illegals being allowed to vote?

What will it be the next time their work permits expire? What will be the excuse next time and the next time and the next time and the next time….

Aquagirl

August 15th, 2012
9:02 am

Oops, sorry for the repeat content. I’m more used to the wild, wild west blogs where anything goes and isn’t held in moderation. :)

ITS ALL BUSHS FAULT

August 15th, 2012
9:03 am

DEPORT THE GOP

Not Blind

August 15th, 2012
9:11 am

The foreigners here illegally get more “compassion” from Obama than struggling American citizens and taxpayers do. Just another way Obama is kicking the leadership can down the road to the next administration.

homeschooler

August 15th, 2012
9:12 am

I agree with those who state this is not a partisan issue. Of course I know conservatives who are angry that people are here illegally and I know many liberals who just want to give people better lives. On the other hand, there are democrats that want all illegals deported and scream that they are taking our jobs and just as many republicans who rationally look at the issue and understand that something has to be done because this country can’t make money without a working class.
The bottom line is the damage is done and it was caused by our citizens and our government. When I say “the damage” I mean hundreds of thousands of undocumented persons across the country.
My husband is a landscape contractor. I am a social worker. I’ve lived this discussion for 20 yrs. We desperately needed these workers in the 90s. Housing was booming, contractors were needed. If our government had just given work visas to those who wanted to work they would have done so and then gone home. Early on, none of their families were here. They just came here and worked. Sure they sent some money back to Mexico but they paid to live here. They paid sales tax and, yes, even property tax. Had it stayed like that, they would have all left when the recession hit. Many did.
But, instead we watched as suddenly they were buying houses and bringing their families over. Why not? We probably live in the only country that has a law that states it is illegal to not educate illegal children. Where else can you buy a house and not even be legally in the country? We made it way to easy. We should have allowed them to work but not have allowed them to set up their lives here. It would have been a win/win situation but now we are in a mess.
Over the years I’ve known hundreds of illegal children. I’ve seen how dedicated and mature they can be and I’ve wondered what was going to happen when they get out of school, can’t get a drivers license and can’t get a job. They have been in our “everybody’s equal” school system, believed the lies and they are going to be in for a shock when told they are actually criminals can can not have a life here. For them, I am thrilled with this decision.
The problem is, many of those kids are going to go on to college and live the American dream. They are not going to be the “working class”. We are still going to need a working class and this country is incapable of creating one.
My other concern is that for every hard working illegal child there is a legal child of an illegal who is going to turn into a gang member, moocher off of the system, low life etc.. One of my co-workers said he wanted to create a video called “Immigrant Kids Gone Wild” because we see so many of these kids whose parents are striving to give them a better life and the kids are nothing but thugs in the making.

As someone who has watched this process play out over the past 20 yrs and has been very close to it, I believe that that we need a laws to 1) help the illegal kids work but not make them citizens until at some point they have proven themselves. 2) help their parents work but not make them citizens. I have known Latino men who bring tears to my eyes because of their hard work and dedication to their families. Anyone who ever employs someone like this would never want to hire another American. They are so thankful to be working, are never late, never take off, never slack off. My husband has consistently stated over the years, “they are like well oiled machines”. And before I get a lot of slack about hiring illegals, I’ll say that we do use e-verify (what a joke that is) and our contractors have tax ID numbers and file taxes every year. A lot of people don’t realize that many of these undocumented workers are paying taxes. Employers don’t hire these guys because they get cheap labor, they hire them because they are productive. I’m just fearful that that is going to change. America will soon ruin the Latino offspring and take away their work ethic just as it has the American working class. And I blame the citizens, not the government for this. Teach your kids to work hard, to respect their employers, to understand the hierarchy of a business or any place of employment. That they can make it to the top by excelling beyond the others and not just because they deserve to be at the top. My husband and I would love to hire only Americans to work but it seems to us that it must not be that bad to be unemployed in this country because no one seems to want to rake, shovel or lay sod for 12 dollars an hour. No one except the illegals.

JF McNamara

August 15th, 2012
9:20 am

@Mountain Man,

I guess its semantics. What we have actually done has been consistent. I don’t really listen to all the railing and grandstanding because that’s not worth anything. Results are the only thing that matter to me.

Guest

August 15th, 2012
9:34 am

“The foreigners here illegally get more ‘compassion’ from Obama than struggling American citizens…”

If you’re struggling, try harder. Based on work I’ve had done to my condo, Mexicans are prompt, diligent, and thorough, whereas their redneck counterparts in the construction industry are lazy, sloppy, and whiny, as if I’m inconveniencing them by PAYING them to do a job.

Maybe we can send the Toby Keith crowd down to Mexico?

TrishaDishaWarEagle

August 15th, 2012
9:39 am

I am glad that husseinco is on the side of an issue that 66-70% of LEGAL Americans..aka legal voters(as opposed to the tens of thousands of illegal voters that husseinco expects to vote for him) are vehemently against.