June 25th, 2012 by Eric Ramos
The North Carolina Dream Team and other affiliates of NIYA, the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, occupied Obama for America offices in the two weeks prior to June 15th’s executive order delaying deportation of undocumented youths.
The occupations, which took place in the cities of Detroit, MI, New York, NY, Cincinnati, Ohio, Oakland, CA, Denver, CO and Volley, NC, called for an executive order to implement effective immigration policy change that would serve non-criminal undocumented youths that fill the country’s schools and homes. Jose Rico, spokesperson for the NC Dream Team, believes it was these occupations that led to Obama making the announcement June 15.
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Rico says the occupations were fueled by recent evidence that last year’s ICE prosecutorial discretion initiative, which promised to focus deportation away from DREAM Act candidates, unsatisfactorily accomplished its intended goal when less than 1% of deportation cases were determined to qualify for a deferral.
The 2011 memorandum was not law and neither is Friday’s executive order, but it is one more step towards changing legislation for so-called dreamers and, according to Rico, that is something to be excited about but to be watchful of too.
“We are skeptical,” Rico says. “We aren’t going to believe it until we see it, until we prove it by looking into our case notes, until we see those deportations being stopped and protected by this policy.”
Unfortunately, the power of the order isn’t the only thing to be worried about. Details have yet to be released which means there is no way to apply for deferral of action yet. However, Rico warns, that’s not going to stop fraud from happening and people from taking your money and promising to help you when there’s nothing to help with, not yet.
The NC Dream Team is organizing a community session with local lawyers to educate the public about the details of the June 15 order. They are answering phone calls, of which there have been an increasing number, and advising people what to do and what not to do.
Rico encourages candidates to gather evidence that they may need such as school transcripts and records proving they were here five years prior to the announcement. He also says that if you’re not in school, register now.
“Be really excited, I believe this is going to be true,” says Rico. “Be prepared, be ready, but be cautious too.”