Young immigrants have chance to avoid deportation | News
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Starting Wednesday, well over one million illegal immigrants can apply for the chance to stay in the country temporarily, without fear of being deported.
Thousands of people lined up in cities across the country to apply for "deferred action" permits. They will allow illegal immigrants to avoid deportation, while obtaining a temporary work permit. Those who qualify will be allowed to stay in America for two years. Applicants must pay a $465 fee.
Here in Michigan, it's estimated that 10,000 immigrants could benefit from this new program.
"I think it's a step in the right direction, "says Elvira Hernandez, who is a counselor at the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan.
The plan targets children who were brought to the U.S. before they were 16. They must be under 31.
"It's going to protect them from deportation for 2-years of time. It's going to give them work authorization," says Hernandez.
President Obama signed the executive order in June after the Dream Act failed to pass through Congress.
At the time, Mitt Romney said it was a ploy to get votes in November. "You do what's right for the country; you don't make policy based on politics," said Romney.
Either way, it's giving many young immigrants hope. They won't have to worry about getting deported. It won't help them become a citizen; they still must follow the regular process. But Hernandez believes it will give them a chance to feel more comfortable in the only place they know as home.
For more information, immigrants of any nationality can contact the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan at (616)742-0200.