There are definitely people out there who say that they support immigration reform, but what do they actually do about it? I recently came across a company and others like it that have really worked hard in making a difference.
Teach for America is an organization which places recent college graduates in low-income rural or urban areas throughout the country in order to provide children in those areas with better education.
Recently, it has begun listing deferred-action status as yet another way for applicants to meet eligibility requirements. Teach for America has already hired 30 individuals for the 2014 term with this status.
One of the organization's CEOs, Elisa Villanueva Beard, has stated that Teach for America decided to list this status as applicable because it really ties in with the organization's core values. Teach for America is meant to provide education and opportunity for America's youth that may otherwise be forgotten. Deferred-action recipients fit “with their philosophy to boost young people's access and equity.”
Villanueva Beard was even more personally impacted and influenced after she watched someone she knew go through deportation proceedings last year. Years ago, when Beard taught first grade, she was introduced to this individual. Now an adult, that former student was just recently deported. “It was just a horrible, tragic experience,” Villanueva Beard said.
One individual who has taken advantage of this policy change is Jacky Acosta, 25. She was brought to the U.S. as a newborn and was undocumented until she received deferred action last year. “When Teach for America announced that DACA recipients could apply, it was automatic, I got all my statements and paperwork ready and I submitted,” Acosta said. The opportunity was so great that her older brother also ended up applying and now both are planning on teaching in Los Angeles this summer.
In addition to Teach for America, other companies have also decided to view deferred-action as a benefit, rather than something less than positive. These companies view deferred-action status as life experience along with the ability to be resourceful.
The North Carolina-based BB&T Bank has a career recruitment program centered around young immigrants. Another organization, Own the Dream, has also decided to incorporate those with deferred-action status into its workforce. As an organization that works to help young immigrants apply for deferred-action status, Own the Dream employs approximately 40 individuals with the status.
The “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival” (DACA) process was introduced on June 15, 2012. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memorandum explaining how certain foreign nationals can apply for this special immigration classification.
Remember that deferred action is not an immigration status, but gives an immigrant permission to remain in the U.S. and apply for employment authorization.
If you or a loved one is considering applying for DACA, it is important to understand that there are a lot of details involved with an application and in evaluating whether an immigrant may qualify. In situations like these, it's important to work with a professional who understands immigration law and has experience with DACA.