What can Guns N’ Roses tell us about the new Deferred Action process for undocumented young people, also known as “DREAMers”? Probably not much, but at least one of the band’s songs contains an important lesson for the immigrant community and their advocates: “Patience.”
Congressional testimony by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and rumor-mill speculation had most of the immigrant community (our program included) waiting with bated breath for new details on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and these details were ostensibly to be released August 1 or 2. Both of those days have come and gone, and we’re no better informed about this exciting process than we were on June 15 when it was announced.
But, as Axl Rose cautions us: “…take it slow, and it’ll work itself out fine / All we need is just a little patience.”
What if DACA is not in effect on August 15? What if applications aren’t accepted until September 1, or September 15? Who will be harmed? The answer may just be “Nobody.”
Granted, it has been more than ten years since the last major expansion of eligibility for immigration benefits for undocumented immigrants, and in the intervening years we have seen Republican and Democratic administrations frustrated in their efforts to pass immigration reforms in an increasingly polarized political system. The feeling throughout the immigration community that “¡Ya es hora!” and that some new solution is greatly overdue is a valid feeling, and it is one that we share.
Our concern is that we have been talking with more and more families over the last two months that seem to be scrambling to find someone to take on their DACA cases, and this creates enormous potential for fraud. When the accredited non-profit immigration programs in town offer the humble and honest answers of “We don’t know yet,” and “We’ll have to see exactly what the process looks like,” it opens the door for notarios, unscrupulous attorneys, and all kinds of other unqualified practitioners to prey upon immigrant families desperate for some form of relief.
At the same time, some observers are skeptical about DACA because it is just a change in policy that could be reversed by this president or his successor at a moment’s whim. We think it is unlikely that this would happen — deporting young people is not exactly good PR — but the risk remains.
So whether your concern is deciding whether or not to apply for DACA based upon who wins the November election or just making sure that every i is dotted and t is crossed in your DACA application, it seems like the best course of action is to work steadily toward your goals, gather the necessary documents, select an immigration practitioner you can trust, and stay tuned for the latest details about the case.
After all, sometimes all we need is just a little patience.