The Obama administration’s decision to broaden its deferred deportation policy will give peace of mind to more than 1 million people who live in fear of being expelled from the country where they have spent most of their lives. At the same time, it gives unscrupulous individuals an opportunity to try to scam people with false promises.
If this has happened every time there are positive changes in immigration regulations, there is no reason it won’t happen now. Anxiety about solving the distressful situation of finding themselves under a constant threat of deportation often makes immigrants vulnerable to scam artists.
This is an old story that happens time and again. Promises are made, money paid in advance and then the person making the promises disappears.
To avoid being scammed, remember:
* This is not an amnesty. It is very limited and precise about who it applies to. There is no possibility to expand it in terms of age or other conditions.
* There are no green cards. This is a protection to avoid deportation that lasts two years. It is not a path to citizenship.
* The process is unknown. The steps to follow in the majority of the cases have not been revealed. No one can promise to do today what will only be known in 60 days.
* Parents will not benefit. It would be fairer if that was the case, but it is not. The new policy only includes children who were minors when they were brought into the country illegally.
* This is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. People will receive work permits depending on whether they have met individual requirements, such as not having committed serious crimes.
The new regulation from the Department of Homeland Security on immigration is the most important positive change since the 1986 reform. However, this is a limited administrative action.
Congress still needs to approve a DREAM Act-to make this action by the executive branch a sound one-and of course, pass a comprehensive immigration reform. Both of these steps will help more hard workers who are undocumented.
Meanwhile, watch out for unscrupulous agents and attorneys who promise you the earth. Community organizations such as CHIRLA ( 1-888-624-4752) offer you information. Don’t let anyone scam you.