Paperwork and lawyer talk is not the usual way to bring us together, but Promise Arizona and the NO DREAM DEFERRED Coalition teamed up with Neighborhood Miniseries to put on a Deferred Action Information session for over 1,300 people on Saturday, August 18, 2012. Gathered at Neighborhood Ministries, lawyers presented and answered questions concerning Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Accommodating 200 for each of five separate sessions, the waiting room filling up as quickly as the auditorium with entire families, friends and people interested in improving their community.
Watching twin projectors that displayed Spanish and English at the same time, attendants took notes, asked questions and talked to the presenters one-on-one afterwards. Thanks to Promise Arizona and the No DREAM Deferred Coalition, hundreds have come closer to living without the fear of being taken away from the only home they’ve ever known and being separated from their families.
Hundreds of undocumented immigrants turned out at each of five sessions Saturday to get advice from immigration lawyers on how to properly complete the application for the deferred-action program.
The six-page application could pave the way to allowing undocumented immigrants to stay and work in the U.S. for two years without fear of deportation. Attendees asked a range of questions, from what will happen to the program if President Barack Obama is not re-elected to whether it will lead to citizenship.
Neighborhood Ministries hosted the daylong “No Dream Deferred” event in Phoenix that was sponsored by the Phoenix School of Law, Promise Arizona and others.
Lourdes Esquibel of Phoenix came to find out if misspellings of her 19-year-old son’s name on various forms would cause problems.
“If he could be here without having issues, it would be a huge opportunity for us,” she said.
“This has already brought new hope for me and my sister. My sister just enrolled in school, and I’m ready to start college…This will open doors for me,” Milca C., a volunteer with Adios Arpaio, said about the opportunities in applying for deferred action.
Right now, DREAMers like Milca can start working towards their futures by applying for deferred action. The Department of Homeland Security will start accepting applications for the program on August 15.
This is a chance for DREAMers and other undocumented people in our communities to reach their full potential – by either utilizing their college degrees through entering the workforce or returning to school after laws like Prop 300 which denied students in-state tuition if they lacked documentation.
There are still many unanswered questions about how this affects our movement and our work. But we know it’s a small step towards the progress that we’ve fought so hard for, and we know there is more to come.
Please read through the application carefully. We urge everyone to use these online resources as a guide and be aware of scams.