DREAMers begin second phase of application process

September 13, 2012

The deferred deportation program was announced by President Obama earlier this year. That program allows qualifying young undocumented immigrants to apply for a temporary postponement of deportation proceedings. Now many of those eligible are beginning the review process.

Jesus Martinez Jesus Martinez completed the second phase of the deferred deportation application procedure after receiving an instruction letter from DHS. (Photos by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez - KJZZ)

NADINE ARROYO RODRIGUEZ: The Department of Homeland Security is asking applicants to come to their local immigration services office on a scheduled date and show proof of identity. They’re also being fingerprinted. This is part of a background check before immigrants are approved for any legal status. Three weeks ago DHS began accepting applications from young undocumented immigrants seeking work permits and deferment to any deportation proceedings. Jesus Martinez, 28, submitted his application on the first day. He went to his scheduled appointment on Thursday morning and said the process took a few minutes.

JESUS MARTINEZ: They just asked me for the letter, and they asked for my ID and then they took me to the back, a back room. They got all my fingerprints, all my fingers, they took a picture, and a signature.

NADINE ARROYO RODRIGUEZ: Some DREAMers say the initial paperwork is lengthy, difficult to understand and intimidating. Many like Gabriela Perez got legal advice to assure she submitted everything properly. The 24-year-old is scheduled to appear for her background check in October. She says despite the arduous and stressful process she’s relieved the first phase is just about over.

GABRIELA PEREZ: Right now everyone is excited for me. My parents. This means that’s it you got it and I don’t feel like I have it yet, I don’t know why I feel like it’s gonna hit me once I receive the approval.

NADINE ARROYO RODRIGUEZ: Legal experts say once a background check is complete, it could take between four to six months to get the final word. Both Martinez and Perez say they’re optimistic everything will come out fine.

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