The Liberator/El Libertador
NEW POLICIES ON DEPORTATIONS
FROM THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION:
WHAT DO THEY MEAN FOR US?
After a year long struggle, led by Congressman Gutierrez and Familia Latina Unida, the Obama Administration has conceded to our demands in two important areas, reversing the President’s position.
- THE DISCRETION DEFENSE
The Obama administration has now agreed that they have the authority to use their discretion to close the cases of those currently in deportation hearings or with a final order of deportation – and of those who are arrested or turned over to Homeland Security by local authorities. They are gradually putting this discretion into effect for those who qualify by meeting one or more criteria. These include being brought here before the age of 18, living with family members who are U.S. citizens – and a long list of other things which can help to qualify a person for discretion. For those with criminal records or previous deportations, it will be much more difficult to qualify – but not impossible.
In many cases, when Homeland Security uses its discretion to close your case, you will be eligible toapply for a work permit, an “authorization to work.” Although you willnot have other legal status. Once determining if you are qualified for this defense against deportation you should still consult an attorney to see if there are other options which actually allow you to gain legal status.
In conjunction with Congressman Gutierrez’s office, Familia LatinaUnida is training churches, union and community groups to provide people with the information they need to find out if they qualify – and how to present their defense.
Familia Latina Unida offers information workshops on Sundays at Lincoln United Methoidist Church, 2242 S Damen, after the 10:30 service and at Adalberto United Methodist Church, 2716 W Division, after the 3 P.M. Service.
2. THE ”IN COUNTRY” WAIVER FOR FAMILY UNITY
The Obama administration has promised to set a new rule in the next two months allowing applications for a hardship waiver to be submitted without leaving the country. This is very important for those who want to apply for undocumented spouses or members of their family who are currently together in the country.
Currently, for a U.S. citizen husband to legalize his undocumented wife or other close family member, they would both have to leave the country, go to Juarez Mexico and apply for a hardship waiver. The hardship waiver allows a U.S.citizen to apply for legalization of their spouse or close family member. The waits were long and in most cases the waiver was not only denied but, because the undocumented person had entered and left the country illegally, they received a ten year bar preventing them from reentering. This often permanently separated families.
According to the new rule, applications for a hardship waiver can be made without leaving the country. If the waiver is granted, then they can quickly go to Juarez to get the visa, return here and begin the process to legalization.
If you apply for a hardship waiver and are rejected you are still eligble for the discretion defense and, while you won’t receive legal status, you also won’t be deported.
We therefore recommend that you first determine if you will b eligble for discretion so that you can safely apply for a hardship waiver which will allow the spouses or family members of U.s. citizens to achieve legal status – and eventually citizenship.
While this is a good first step, we are still struggling with the President to define “extreme hardship” in a way that will never exclude families trying to stay together. Currently, you must show additional factors to your family relationship. Help us keep the pressure on: join Familia Latina Unida today.