Open Letter from Allan Wernick, Director of CUNY Citizenship Now
If you qualify for President Obama’s deferred action, you should apply. CUNY Citizenship Now! will provide free, high quality legal assistance to help you complete your application.
You can find information on the eligibility requirements for deferred action at www.cuny.edu/dreamers. Some Dreamers are worried that if they apply for deferred action, they’ll be at risk of deportation because the program grants legal status for two years only. These Dreamers worry that if Romney becomes President, he will end the program. I believe that the risk is minimal and is far outweighed by the benefits of applying.
Anyone who qualifies for the Dreamer program who doesn’t apply is missing the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s true that a President Romney could reverse the policy, but I believe that is very unlikely. So unlikely that if a member of my own family qualified, I would urge him or her to apply. The Obama program will provide you employment authorization, the chance to get a driver’s license and the ability to travel throughout the United States without fear. If you have an emergency that requires you leave the United States, you may qualify for USCIS travel permission. And, if you have lived in New York for at least 12 months, you will qualify for the lower in-state tuition at CUNY. The twelve months can be before or after you get deferred action status.
Not everyone should apply - some Dreamers have criminal records that could lead to their being deported. Others don’t meet the basic qualifications, so filing an application, with the $465 filing fee would be a waste of time and money.
CUNY Citizenship Now! is committed to providing free advice and application assistance to every CUNY student who may qualify for deferred action status.