Deferred Action Progress

undocumented youth waiting in line to apply for deferred action
courtesy of chicagopublicmedia

This summer I worked with an immigration attorney putting together information for a community meeting regarding Obama’s deferred action policy. I worked for hours researching the application process, what was needed to apply and how to procure certain documents. One of the last days I was home , the meeting was held that we had been planning for months. About 400 members from our community of 140,000 showed up, a surprising turnout. After this summer however I have not had time to stay in contact with the attorney to see how the process has been going with applicants. I have been very curious as to how the application process has been going not only in my community but across the nation.

As of  November 16, almost 309,000 people have applied for deferred action and 53,273 have been approved for deferral since the application’s opening on August 15.  This number is believed to increase due to the recent re-election of President Obama. The uncertainty of who would win the presidential election had many undocumented immigrants questioning wheather or not to apply , with many having doubt the program would remain in place if Romney were to be elected.

It is not a surprise that Democrats tend to receive support from minority groups, including Latinos. Obama, as a Democrat, already had majority support among Latinos in the United States but with the announcement and implementation of his deferred action policy, Obama quickly received much more backing from this community. Florida, the fourth state with the highest population of immigrants went blue this election, giving all their electoral votes to Obama.The great support of the Latino community in the state immensely helped Obama win Florida.

Romney recently stated that Obama’s deferred action policy was a “gift” for his supporters. Romney is right, those who support politicans should get something in return. Something else that Obama should now give his constituents is comprehensive immigration reform, which would grant undocumented immigrant youth who are eligible, a path to citizenship. This is unlike deferred action which only grants eligible applicants tow years legal status and a student and/or work visa. Obama has greatly helped thousands of undocumented youth, through this deferred action program.According to many immigration attorneys across the nation, they are surprised how efficient the deferral process has been. One immigration attorney takes this as a sign that the government truly does care about the well being of all undocumented residents and applicants and truly wants the deferred action program to succeed.

With the success of this program put in place by the Obama administration, it will be interesting to see what will come of Obama’s second term. He has promised immigration reform, but will he follow through? If not, could Obama and the Democrats lose a lot of support, specifically from Latino voters? Let’s hope that Obama follows through on his promises and gives back again to his supporters and constituents.

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