NYLAG Hosts “DREAMDay” to Help Immigrants Seeking Deferred Action

More than twenty young immigrants attended the first NYLAG DREAMDay.

On August 2, 2012, NYLAG held its first of many “DREAMDays” – an orientation and information session for young people about “Deferred Action.” Recently announced by the Obama Administration, “Deferred Action” will give qualifying young undocumented immigrants temporary relief from deportation, as well as the opportunity to work legally in the United States. While this new policy is NOT the long-awaited “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act,” it targets the same group of immigrant youth, frequently referred to as “DREAMers.”

A great success, NYLAG’s first DREAMDay provided information and assistance to individuals interested in applying for Deferred Action. Irina Matiychenko, Director of the Immigrant Protection Unit, welcomed the diverse group of more than 20 energetic young people to NYLAG. The participants listened to a detailed presentation on facts and eligibility criteria, delivered by attorney Indiana Porta, who fielded numerous questions. After the group session, everyone was given an opportunity to meet individually with a NYLAG attorney or BIA-accredited representative to obtain more detailed advice, establish eligibility, and review a list of the documents necessary to apply for Deferred Action.

NYLAG Attorney Indiana Porta's presentation cautioned undocumented immigrants about the dangers of immigration fraud.

“Omar” is one of the young adults who attended the DREAMDay session. Born in India, he was brought to the U.S. by his parents as a toddler. Raised in New York City, English is his first language, and he has no memory of his native country. A promising student, Omar graduated with distinction from public high school. While he excels at technology and would like to study computer science, he has been unable to attend college because of his ineligibility for student loans. Now 27 years old, Omar lacks employment authorization and is therefore unable to work to pay for college. “Deferred Action” would enable him to secure a job and continue his education in the only country he’s ever known.

NYLAG is hosting a follow-up session to help Omar and his fellow DREAMDay participants complete and file the necessary forms to apply for “Deferred Action” as soon as the guidelines are announced on August 15th. A series of subsequent “DREAMDays” will be held in the near future. Visit www.nylag.org/dreamers for more information.

Click here to read more stories from the DREAMers who attended the first NYLAG DREAMDay.