Some undocumented aliens in U.S. staying put for now
Thu, 21 Nov 2013 12:13:26 GMT —
LEXINGTON (WACH) -- This story, all too common for folks like 20 year old Belinda Diaz who says she came to America when she was just a kid.
Sheâ??s talking about having to leave South Carolina and returning to Honduras.
â??Iâ??m happy to be here it won't be the same thing over there,â?? says Belinda Diaz, Lexington, SC.
Sheâ??s one of the many undocumented aliens who could face deportation but thanks to a program called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, she's staying put for now.
Belinda says she came to the U.S when she was just 12 years old.
She eventually learned English to the best of her ability and graduated from Lexington high school.
â??It was difficult for me to learn English. Me speaking like this and I donâ??t speak really good but I understand the people,â?? says Diaz.
It gives those who came to the country illegally as a child the opportunity to be placed on a deferred status for two years.
Meaning it's not likely that you would get deported.
During this time you can apply for a driverâ??s license, work permit and a Social Security Number.
Before the two years is over you can reapply for a renewal.
There is a list of qualifications that you'll have to meet to get a Deferred Status.
The following are some examples:
1. You came to the United States before you were 16.
2. You were under 31 when the program started and you are currently in school or graduated from high school.
Tammy Besherse, staff attorney for South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center works with a number of undocumented aliens.
She says apart from the Deferred Action program immigrants do have some other protections.
â??We also are working one a number of task forces especially as it relates to the rights of immigrant crime victims, who are domestic violence victims or sexual assault victims,â?? says Tammy Besherse, SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center.
According to The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services this program does *not* mean a pathway to citizenship.
However, if an immigrants' circumstance changes they may be eligible for a green card.
There are many different scenarios but here's an example of a circumstantial change.
If you were to marry an American or if a job wants to sponsor you.
Belinda is hoping things will change for her because once she becomes a permanent resident she can petition for her brother to come to America.
She says he was sent back to Honduras.
The interesting issue with her brother is that she says his three sons were born in America but when he left he couldn't leave them behind.
â??Many people come here because they need help,â?? says Diaz.
For now Belinda is enjoying her job as an on air personality at a local radio station.
She says she's grateful to have a chance to live in the only country she's ever known, America.
A pathway to citizenship without having to worry about a deferred status is still in the works with lawmakers.
Just this past summer some members of Congress known as the Gang of Eight worked on a bill helping to hopefully establish a 13-year pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.