Alberto waits in line for assistance with paperwork for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program at Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (Photo : Reuters)
For hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants, the application process for deportation immunity has begun, with Obama's reforms to US immigration policy taking effect. The form required to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals can be found here.
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While this is a step towards fulfilling Obama's immigration reform promises, the President asserts that this step is not the solution, stating "This is not amnesty, this is not immunity, this is not a path to citizenship, it's not a permanent fix, this is a temporary stop gap measure."
In order to be eligible for immunity, the applicant must have entered the United States before their sixteenth birthday and must be younger than thirty. Additionally, residence on US soil for five consecutive years, a clean police record, and a High School Diploma or GED is necessary for eligibility. However, military service can substitute a degree.
Those eligible must play an upfront fee of $465 along with proof of identity. Proof of identity may include the following: school transcripts, financial and medical documents, military service records, passports, or birth certificates. According to latino.foxnews.com, some exceptions will be made for individuals with multiple sworn affidavits.
While the application is being processed, it is suggested that the applicant not leave the country without permission to return, which costs $360 in addition to the $465 initial cost. Final decisions may take a number of months to process.
There are concerns about the impact that this reform will have in terms of job availability for American citizens. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith argues that "While potentially millions of illegal immigrants will be permitted to compete with American workers for scarce jobs, there seems to be little if any mechanism in place for vetting fraudulent applications and documentation submitted by illegal immigrants."
With the initial applications starting to roll in, it remains to be seen what impact Obama's immigration reform will have on the country. However, one thing is certain: this baby step will serve as a barometer for things to come.