(Photo : koshyk, flickr.com)
In a bid to help local Latino students to understand and successfully apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the New York Legal Assistance Team has announced plans to park its mobile center outside of Newton High School in Elmsford, Queens from 2:30pm-6:00pm on Thursday September 6th and Friday September 7th.
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The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) provides free legal services to New Yorkers who cannot afford private attorneys. With an emphasis on immigration services and attorneys, the group is seeking to assist those students who are eligible to apply for Deferred Action status. Deferred Action status was recently introduced by the Department of Homeland Security and was created to allow individuals who were brought to this country during their childhood an opportunity to sidestep the threat of deportation and entitles them to temporary work authorization and other benefits.
To be considered for the process, individuals must prove a number of things. Among them: they came to the United States before their 16th birthday, they have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, they were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, they are currently enrolled in school, have graduated from school, have obtained a GED or were honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or Armed Services, they have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or more than three misdemeanors and that they were present in the United States on June 15, 2012 as well as present at the time of applying for Deferred Action status.
"We wanted to educate our communities about the new policy and reach as many eligible students as possible," Yisroel Schulman, President of NYLAG said in a statement. "Right now there is a lot of misinformation circulating about Deferred Action, and many people are at risk of falling prey to fraudulent providers. The Mobile Legal Help Center is the perfect vehicle for delivering high-quality free immigration legal services to our target population and circumventing this type of fraud."
The two days scheduled at Newton High School mark the kick-off of a "campaign" to use the Mobile Legal Help Center, which was first unveiled last winter, to provide DACA assistance to young New Yorkers. NYLAG chose Newton as a jumping off point because of its significantly diverse student population.
"National Geographic once wrote that our zip code, 11373, is the most diverse in the country," John Ficalora, Principal of Newton High School said in a statement.