About 350,000 more undocumented immigrants than previously thought could earn an extra two years in the U.S. when President Barack Obama’s new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program takes effect next week, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Under the program, students age 30 or younger who are enrolled in school on the day they apply will now be eligible for a two-year reprieve from deportation if they demonstrate that they came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday; lived there for the past five years; and have not been convicted of certain crimes or pose a national security threat. Obama’s policy takes effect Aug. 15, and the government will begin accepting applications for deferral that same day. The application includes a fee of $465 used to fund the program, though exemptions will be provided for minors, homeless youth and youth with chronic disabilities that fall below 150 percent of the U.S. poverty level. [Associated Press] LIRS has collected resources on eligibility and guidelines here.
Activists Viridiana Martinez and Marco Saavedra were released by ICE last Friday after spending weeks implanted in immigration detention in the Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach. Once inside the center, the activists from the National Immigrant Youth Alliance collected information on the cases of undocumented immigrants whom they say should be set free according to the new Deferred Action guidelines recently announced by the U.S. government. The two “implanted activists” released last week from the immigrant detention center were then arrested in a protest while demanding the release of at least 100 other detainees. ICE spokesman Vincent Picard said that the undocumented students will not be placed under immigration orders. [Fox News]
Undocumented immigrants around the country have expressed worry that their ability to access healthcare will become more risky once President Barack Obama’s healthcare law takes effect. The reform requires all U.S. citizens and permanent residents to obtain health insurance, either through the government-run Medicaid program for the poor or by purchasing private insurance via state exchanges starting in 2014. It also bars undocumented immigrants from participating. As more low-income citizens receive insurance, the fear is that many of the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants will be easier to identify just because they lack coverage. Even though U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants are likely to be eligible for insurance, including the government-sponsored Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), many remain out of the system because of their parents’ dread that the undocumented parent(s) will be identified and deported. [Reuters]