DENVER - Brought to the United States at age 10, undocumented immigrant Nancy Olivas, now 21 years old, knows deportation is more than a constant threat."My two younger brothers and I are without my dad because he had to leave the states due to deportation," Olivas said.
She hopes to avoid the same fate by applying for Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals -- a two-year reprieve from the fear of deportation that also provides the opportunity to receive a renewable work permit and driver's license. The application costs $645 and can be submitted beginning Wednesday.
On Wednesday, several immigration advocacy groups (Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, Together Colorado, Padres y Jovenes Unidos, VOICE Boulder and Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition) rallied at Denver's West High School to pledge support for eligible applicants. The groups are seeking volunteers to help people navigate the application process.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, candidates for deferred action will be considered if they:
Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.
Came to the United States before reaching their 16th birthday.
Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time.
Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making their request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS.
Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012.
Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.
Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
"The process itself is a bit complicated and cumbersome," said Hans Meyer, an immigration attorney contracted by the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. "Hopefully, it will get us to the point if people are able to work with attorneys or community organizations, this process can go relatively smoothly so that we can get those applications to the government."
Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals was enacted on June 15. The policy is not a path to citizenship.