Posted: Aug 28, 2012 11:22 PM by Keli Moore
Updated: Aug 29, 2012 6:13 AM
There are thousands of illegal immigrants on the Central Coast. Many of them are young between the ages of 15 and 30 and some say it's difficult to get work and pursue higher education.
That's why more than 400 people went to Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria Tuesday night to find out how new federal rules can help them pursue their dreams.
It's called Deferred Action, but what it allows is for the undocumented to get a social security card and a driver's license. It gives them a chance to work and not get deported.
"We left everything behind to come here, my parents wanted us to have a better education and job," said 21 year old Diana Rodriguez as she stood in line for the workshop.
Her family wanted the "American Dream," so they migrated from Mexico to the United States when she was 4 years old. Santa Maria has been her home ever since.
"I want to study, I want to work. I want a social security card, so I can do all that," she said.
Rodriguez and her friends were first in line to attend the Deferred Action Workshop at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria Tuesday, and hundreds trailed behind.
Rodriguez is currently a student at the college, but she said wants to be prepared because she knows she will face an uphill road if she does not get on the path to becoming a U.S. Citizen.
Deferred Action is a start, however it's temporary, organizers said. The policy is in place for the next two years, and it doesn't guarantee citizenship.
"A lot of these students are lost without measures like this because many of them cannot go to Mexico because they don't have family and don't speak the language," said Hazel Putney, a representative from Pueblo, a community organization that was at the workshop to help people fill out applications.
The application process began Aug. 15th., and in order to be considered someone has to be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, have moved to the U.S. before turning 16 years old, have lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years and are in school or graduated, or served in the military. And they cannot have been convicted of certain crimes.
Applications for Deferred Action are available on-line at www.USCIS.gov
There's a $465 filing fee. Immigration warned applicants to not pay more than this as there have been multiple scams making promises of citizenship.
The application does not have a deadline and takes 30 to 90 days to process.
The application can be mailed to:
P.O. Box 1820 E. Skyharbor Circle, Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ. 85034
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