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Deferred Action process begins Wednesday

Local youth to seize opportunity to live and work legally in US

August 15, 2012
By DAVID ALEXANDER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

Those eligible for Deferred Action can begin the process Wednesday.

But, the last thing young people eager to receive Deferred Action should do is hurry, Brynne Howard, a lawyer with Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors, said. There is no deadline for application.

"It's better to wait and do it right than do it with someone who doesn't know what they are doing," she said. "We think it's important that people get help and that they get the right kind of help."

The policy allows thousands of foreign-born students younger than 32 without a criminal record to work and live legally in the United States.

Although it is not a path to citizenship, Deferred Action would halt the candidate's deportation for two years. Applications for Deferred Action could be renewed after that period.

Justice for Our Neighbors and Citizens for Community Improvement will host a free legal clinic in Des Moines Aug. 25 where eligible people can come and work with lawyers to get the process started.

The Marshalltown Library will host another informational session 5: 30 p.m. Aug. 29. That presentation will be in Spanish.

Jackie Guevara, 18, of Marshalltown, said she knows many people who will benefit from Deferred Action.

"They are really excited. They deserve it," she said.

Sara Curtin, member of the steering committee for Immigrant Allies, said those eligible should be leery of anyone contacting them and trying to get their money to start this process.

She said the total cost should only be around $400. Immigrant Allies is working on fundraisers to help as many people as they can with that cost.

Although it will be a lot of work, Curtin said, it will be worth it in the end. Many students don't know they qualify; that's why it's important to inform students of the policy, she said.

Mary Rodriguez, 25, of Marshalltown, said although she has already obtained her citizenship, she doesn't begrudge anyone pursuing Deferred Action.

"The process is so long," she said of obtaining citizenship. "If they have a chance, they should go for it."

Still, many said until the election in November is over, it is unlikely many eligible youth will apply for Deferred Action.

Many young foreign-born people are skeptical of the process since it is not legislation, and Mitt Romney has vowed to revoke the policy if elected, they said.

"People that are undocumented are going to be hesitant to tell people they are undocumented," Curtin said.

However, if continued, Deferred Action will give students an incentive to stay in school and thereby contribute to the overall health of the community, Joa LaVille, with Immigrant Allies, said.

Appointments are required for the legal clinic in Des Moines. To make an appointment call 515-255-9809. For more information on Deferred Action contact immigrant allies at



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