A message from Representative Pete Aguilar:
We are a nation of immigrants—our diversity and collective histories is what strengthens communities across the country. While I believe we should embrace our history of diversity that built our nation, it is an unfortunate truth that our immigration system is broken. Millions of people hide in the shadows every day in fear of deportation. Others who wish to travel to the United States to participate in family events face an incredibly complex visa process that takes months, if not years, to complete.
My office is available to assist you with applying for citizenship, applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and ensuring that visa applications are processed in a timely manner. Below are federal updates that you may reference as you navigate our country’s immigration system.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency processes all citizenship applications. Before beginning the process of becoming a citizen, it is recommended that you complete the naturalization eligibility worksheet offered by USCIS. This will help you determine if you are eligible for citizenship. For a quick overview of what information will be required during the application process, you may consider reviewing the step-by-step process outlined by USCIS.
Beware of Notarios!
There are many individuals who pose as notaries, also known as “notarios,” who claim they can process immigration requests, often in exchange for a sum of money. Some immigrant families have reported losses up to hundreds of dollars from counterfeit immigration consultants.
It is of the utmost importance that you seek assistance from an attorney or accredited representative approved by the government. You can access a database of government certified immigration representatives here. For more information on notario fraud, you may visit: https://www.consumer.gov/content/notario-fraud
To provide temporary relief for undocumented immigrants, President Obama issued an executive action to create the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Although DACA status would not necessarily enable a beneficiary to become a citizen, it will provide employment authorization and a two-year safe period with an exemption from deportation.
DACA may apply to individuals who satisfy the following requirements:
- Arrived in the United States before reaching 16
- Continual residence in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 up to the present
- Must be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
- Present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
- Free from conviction of a felony, serious misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors
- Currently in school, graduated from high school, or honorably discharged from the Armed Forces of Coast Guard
*If you do not meet these qualifications, you may be eligible for expanded DACA and/or DAPA. Unfortunately, these programs are currently unavailable. For more information read below.
If you meet these requirements, you may request DACA status through USCIS. You must complete the following forms: I-821D, I-765 and I-765 Worksheet. In order to successfully submit your forms, you must also include $465 with the I-765 form. Lastly, you must schedule an appointment with your local USCIS Application Support Center in San Bernardino.
995 Hardt Street
San Bernardino, CA
On November 20th, 2014, President Obama announced through executive action that he would expand eligibility for the DACA program to include undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States since January 1, 2010, and to parents of U.S. citizens and/or lawful permanent residents. It is estimated that this action would provide relief to more than 4.9 million undocumented immigrants.
The implementation of the expanded DACA program and DAPA has been stalled due to a legal dispute between 26 states and President Obama. Lead by Texas, these states sued President Obama to put a halt on the rollout of these programs. On February 16th, 2015, Judge Hanen of Texas placed an injunction on the rollout of the program, which has temporarily suspended the process from moving forward.
President Obama appealed the decision of Judge Hanen to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. On November 9th, 2015, the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of Texas and upheld Judge Hanen’s decision to put a temporary halt on the expanded DACA and DAPA programs.
The Obama Administration filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, and a decision on the constitutionality of the program will likely be issued in June 2016. In the best case scenario, the Supreme Court would allow President Obama to continue with the DACA and DAPA program, and undocumented immigrants would be able to apply for a temporary work permit in July 2016. In anticipation of a decision from the Supreme Court, those who would qualify for DAPA and expanded DACA should prepare their immigration documents to apply if the program reopens.
As a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, I strongly believe that DAPA and the expanded DACA programs are essential to keeping families together. Too many families have been ripped apart due to our broken immigration system. I stand by President Obama in his efforts to keep families together, and to provide eligible undocumented immigrants with relief from the threat of deportation.