Angelica, a 35 year old North Bergen resident, came to the U.S. on a C-1 transit visa from Colombia in 2006. When her time expired, she stayed in New Jersey to continue working. However, her decision to stay came with a great deal of fear. The mother of two said, “If I leave home one day, I might not be able to come back to my babies… I have to be a strong mom for them. I can’t show them I live in fear.” Angelica is currently unemployed, however, her husband is able to continue working because of his Maryland driver’s license. In New Jersey, he would need documents to get a license. His job allows them to afford their North Bergen apartment. The family is still living in fear…but things may get better soon.
The new immigration reform, an executive action by President Obama, grants some parents a temporary reprieve from deportation. This reform may protect up to five million of our country’s approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants, even providing working papers to some. Those who are eligible for protection under the reform include individuals who fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) who are able to establish residency since 2010 or earlier. They also must be the parents of lawful permanent residents or citizens who have been in the country since 2010. This would apply to Angelica, whose son was born in America. Every individual must first pass a background check.
The federal government will begin taking DACA applications beginning on Feb. 18, 2015.
This executive action means a great deal to a lot of people in this country, and New Jersey has one of the highest undocumented immigrant populations in the nation. In fact, in Angelica’s town of North Bergen alone, there are likely thousands. The We Are One New Jersey’s website estimates that there may be upward of 93,000 legal permanent residents in Hudson County, “who are eligible to become U.S. citizens, but who may lack the financial resources, English-language skills or time to fulfill their dream of full citizenship.”
Most immigrants came to New Jersey to create a better life for their families. When facing concerns about the ability to legally remain in this country, it is best to speak with an experienced immigration attorney. A skilled attorney can provide you with an honest assessment of your situation and advise you on the best choices for you and your family.
Contact an experienced immigration lawyer at Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan, LLC for assistance with your DACA application or any other immigration-related matter.