Many Pennsylvania readers recently followed news regarding wildfires spreading in various regions along the West Coast. An immigrant who lives there with several of his relatives was one who got out of his apartment alive before it was completely destroyed by the fires. In the aftermath of the disaster, he faced several challenges regarding his immigration status and continues to live with dire concerns as to whether he may eventually face the deportation process.

The man happens to be an aspiring neuroscientist who was brought to the United States as a child. Some time before the fires broke out near his home, he had been living under status protection through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Like many other immigrants who entered the United States as infants or minors, the temporary status protected the man from deportation as an undocumented person.

The DACA program is now essentially defunct, which caused the man to worry whether he is at risk for arrest and possible deportation. This is one of the reasons he did not file an application for federal aid following the wildfire disaster. He could have submitted an application using his sister’s personal information because she is a U.S. citizen.

The man had heard, however, that by doing so, his legal status information may fall into hands that could place him at risk for investigation. He decided the risk was too high. He and his family are now renting a home but he continues to live in fear of deportation. There are, no doubt, immigrants in Pennsylvania who can relate to this man’s anxiety. All undocumented immigrants should know that they can seek guidance from immigration and naturalization law attorneys for any legal issues concerning their residency statuses.

Source: motherjones.com, “Escaping a Wildfire and Fighting to Stay Here“, Maddie Oatman, Accessed on Nov. 27, 2017