VOLS Holds Info Session of Obama Deferred Action Policy

July 18, 2012

On July 10, 2012, Liz Markuci, the Director of VOLS' Dream Not Deferred Project, met with 40 very hopeful students and parents to discuss Secretary Janet Napolitano’s June 15th memorandum directing the Department of Homeland Security to exercise prosecutorial discretion to temporarily suspend or prevent the removal of low-priority individuals who came to this country as children.

This past year, Liz has been working closely with several public high schools to help students resolve immigration problems so that they can work legally, apply for financial aid, and go to college. So far, the Dream Not Deferred Project has recruited and trained 40 volunteer lawyers, given presentations to over 250 school staff, parents and students, and individually screened more than 50 high school students in 11 schools.

Although many students were found to be eligible for some form of immigration relief, the majority were not. However, Liz told those students to contact her if they heard there was a change in the law. She also kept a list of "potential Dreamers" who might benefit if a law called the Dream Act was passed. 

Within hours of President Obama’s announcement of this new policy, Liz started receiving emails and phone calls from anxious students and parents desperate for more information.  Many wondered whether this could be the relief they have been hoping for.

In response to these urgent requests for guidance, Liz organized an information session to discuss the eligibility criteria for deferred action and the potential risks of applying for the two-year reprieve. VOLS also developed practical tools to help students gather the kinds of documentation they might need to assess and prove eligibility.

After the federal government releases detailed procedures and starts accepting affirmative deferred action applications later this summer, Liz plans to train more attorney volunteers and hold clinics to match low-income students with attorneys who can help them.