It is heartwarming when the federal government doesn’t stand in the way of someone trying to pursue his or her dream. For the undocumented immigrants who came to this country with their parents, that has not always been the case, but a few weeks ago we covered the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which provides immigrants who came here illegally as children two more years to stay in the country. A recent report lists a South Philadelphia college student as the first person in the area to receive the reprieve.
For the 18 year old, this reprieve means that she can continue her education and, hopefully, become an ultrasound technician. This is a far cry from where she had been before President Obama instituted the Deferred Action. She had thought that she had become a U.S. citizen at some point after she walked across the border at the age of 7, but she later discovered that she was neither a legal citizen, nor did she have the visa requirements to remain in the country legally.
She wanted to get a job, learn to drive and continue with her education, but she realized that without the legal ability to remain in the country, she would be largely limited in what she could do. Any attention that she drew to herself could result in her being sent to Mexico. So, she worked for $3 an hour, well-under minimum wage. Now that she will not face deportation and will receive a Social Security Number and a work permit, she can start to apply for jobs that will pay her a legal wage.
The young woman has made it clear that she considers the United States and Pennsylvania her home and one day hopes to become an American citizen. It remains to be seen whether the Deferred Action will provide the avenue to citizenship that she will need, but she can at least take a step toward an education and a career.
Source: CBS Philly, “South Philadelphia Woman First In Area To Get Reprieve Under Obama Immigration Order,” Cherri Gregg, Nov. 26, 2012
Stop by our Lancaster deportation defense web page to learn more about the work we have done on behalf of immigrants in removal hearings.