LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Hundreds of thousands of young immigrants will start applying for a Deferred Action program on Wednesday, which will allow the children of undocumented workers to live in the U.S. without fear of deportation for the next two years.
Young students came to the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday to learn how to apply for the federal program.
The new deferment program, however, doesn’t apply to all immigrant children.
To qualify, applicants must have come to the U.S. when they were under 16, and they must have continuously lived in the country for the past five years.
They have to be in school or have a high school or equivalent diploma, or be a veteran with an honorary discharge.
They must have no felony convictions or significant misdemeanors on their record.
They also can’t be above the age of 30.
Pedro Trujillo, an immigration youth counselor, said proving an undocumented youth has been in the country continuously can be a challenge.
“The students have it easiest because they have proof they’ve been in the U.S. for five years,” he said.
While the federal policy applies to undocumented children nationwide, many who apply in California will also be eligible to apply for financial aid to state colleges.
Sean Tan, an economics major at UC Berkeley, was brought to the country when he was 11-years-old.
“All of my memories about high school and middle school are from America. I come from the Philippines. I still retain that culture and that tradition, but I also see myself as someone who is American,” he said.
Diana Ramos, 20, said her parents carried her as a baby to the U.S., and they’ve been working in L.A. sweatshops ever since.
“We want to help. We want to make this country better. We want to be here for the people,” she said.