As federal immigration shift nears, one question on a form could be a deal breaker
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED Aug. 9, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - When the president first announced a major change to our nation's immigration policy, immigrant groups thought their dreams were partly answered. But that excitement is turning into caution and skepticism this week, as the policy is about to go into effect.
The plan essentially gives people brought into the country illegally at a young age a way to defer deportation for two years. It’s called “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” They need to meet strict criteria and they need to request it. But there could be a question on the form that might be a deal breaker for some.
Josue Saldivar, Ana Rodriguez and Daniela Nava are young adults in Tucson who call themselves "undocumented youth." Each believes they will qualify for temporary safety from deportation under the federal plan announced in mid-June.
KGUN9 News reporter Kevin Keen asked Saldivar: “Are you still excited?” Yes,” he answered. “I know that this has been something that we've wanting for our community.”
That community is anxiously awaiting August 15th, when they can fill out a form and submit other documentation to request relief. But there is some hesitation.
Tucson immigration attorney John Messing said the form could ask for the names, addresses and birthdates of family members, who are potentially undocumented immigrants.
“The concern would be that, at some point in time, the data that is being collected could be used to arrest, pick them up and deport them because they're here illegally,” Messing said, adding those individuals might not be eligible for the deportation relief themselves.
The agency in charge of the request process, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), told KGUN9 the contents of the form--and whether there’s any questions about family members--won’t be made public until next week.
Messing, of Messing Law Offices, said USCIS states in its materials that the information will kept confidential but with exceptions.
“Read closely, those exceptions are so broad that it's very hard to know where the rule is going to come into effect and where it won't,” he said.
Keen asked him, “Will this scare some people away?” “I think it will,” he answered.
“For my family, I feel like something might happen,” Nava said. “I'm being careful. I think about my dad and my mom--what would happen if they get reported to ICE.”
“It is something that's in the back of my mind, but until we see the application, we will for sure be cautious or think twice before we go ahead and do the application,” Saldivar added.
Keen asked Rodiguez, “But that's not going to keep you from filling out the form?” “No,” she answered. “It most definitely will not keep me from filling out the form because it is the only resource that we have right now as undocumented youth.”
Messing said he’s advising clients to wait and see. He said he’ll look over the form closely, and he and his clients will have to weigh the likelihood of benefits against any risks.