By Rebecca Henely
Queens civic groups accompanied their young members to the U.S. immigration office in Long Island City Wednesday for the start of President Barack Obama’s deferred action policy.
“Finally I see my dreams coming true,” said 20-year-old Yenny Yanaylle, a Jackson Heights resident who applied.
Obama announced through a memo June 15 that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security should not begin or continue a deportation process for certain young, undocumented immigrants. This deferred action policy is available to immigrants who came to the United States under the age of 16, are younger than 30, were in the U.S. on June 15, have lived in the country for the last five years, have a clean criminal record and are either in school, have graduated from high school, have a general education development certificate or have an honorable discharge from the military. Immigrants who qualify will have to renew after two years.
The policy went into effect Aug. 15, and about 20 to 30 people came out to the Long Island City office at 27-35 Jackson Ave. to either apply for deferred action or support those who did. Ana Maria Archila, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, said her organization has been working for comprehensive immigration reform for years. She credited the policy to the recent willingness of young undocumented immigrants to come forward throughout the past decade and tell their stories.
“Young people who are undocumented will be able to walk down the streets without fear,” Archila said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.