Details Sketchy on Expanded Deferred Action for Undocumented Immigrants

It is estimated that 1,800 undocumented Mexicans are living in Alaska, although there is no account of how many undocumented individuals of other nationalities may be in the state. Now, some undocumented immigrants may be eligible for an expanded deferred action program announced last week by President Barack Obama.

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 The presidents’s executive order may not become official any time soon, according to the Immigration Justice Project’s Robin Bronin. Bronin says there are few details as yet, and it could be 180 days  before applications are available. But, she cautions, undocumented persons who could qualify should start gathering proof of identification now.

“This is a program to make sure the people who are living here, who are contributing to our community, hae immigration documents so that they can get, for instance, driver’s licenses and not be afraid that when they are taking their children to school that they are going to be deported from the United States. “

President Obama last week announced his executive action on a plan to grant temporary, three year legal status to up to five million undocumented immigrants who have family in the United States. The president’s plan does not grant them citizenship, but it does expand an earlier program aimed at keeping undocumented immigrant children in the U.S. The earlier Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals [DACA ] plan helped one Anchorage woman who arrived in Alaska illegally at age 13. She spoke through a translator.

“I’m very happy because I am not anymore afraid of driving, and I can go to work, and I can keep my family together.”

Attorney Bronin says it is critical for applicants for the expanded deferred action program to show that they have been in the US since January of 2010.

The president’s action is intended to allow undocumented parents of children born in the U.S. to remain in the country legally, and it frees federal immigration authorities to target criminals and those undocumented immigrants recently arrived in the U.S. for deportation.

Bronin spoke at the Consulado de Mexico in Anchorage on Monday.


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APTI Reporter-Producer Ellen Lockyer started her radio career in the late 1980s, after a stint at bush Alaska weekly newspapers, the Copper Valley Views and the Cordova Times. When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Valdez Public Radio station KCHU needed a reporter, and Ellen picked up the microphone. Since then, she has literally traveled the length of the state, from Attu to Eagle and from Barrow to Juneau, covering Alaska stories on the ground for the AK show, Alaska News Nightly, the Alaska Morning News and for Anchorage public radio station, KSKA elockyer (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8446 | About Ellen

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