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Deferred action program for immigrant children

More than 15,000 of the immigrants accepted in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program since its inception in 2012 live in Georgia. The Obama administration put the program in place for individuals who were brought to the United States as children and educated in the country but never attained legal status. To be eligible, the individuals must not have committed any felonies.

In total, around 55 percent of the individuals eligible for the program throughout the country have applied with more than half a million accepted so far, and the Georgia numbers are in line with these percentages. There is some concern that the $465 application fee is a barrier to application for some, and some observers have suggested that offering help with these fees in the poorest communities could help increase participation in the program. The program offers renewable two -year reprieves and also offers work permits.

A program like this one that allows for child immigration addresses the issue of children who have spent the majority of their lives in the United States and for whom their birth countries are essentially foreign. Individuals who may be eligible for it may wish to consult an attorney to discuss that eligibility as well as to examine whether they might be able to start on a path to citizenship or permanent residency.

For example, a child might have been brought to the United States from another country before the age of one by his parents. At sixteen, that individual might be fluent in English and consider himself an American even though he has no official documentation. He might not even speak the language in his home country. Applying for the program may help ensure that he is not immediately deported.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Just over half of eligible Georgians applied for deportation deferrals", Jeremy Redmon, August 12, 2014

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Just over half of eligible Georgians applied for deportation deferrals", Jeremy Redmon, August 12, 2014

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