The day has arrived for Dreamers in Florida and across the nation to finally be able to adjust their immigration status.
Starting Wednesday, young, undocumented immigrants will be able to apply for temporary legal status under the "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" (DACA) Plan passed by President Barack Obama in June.
"The biggest award that I've ever gotten in my life – my application for deferred action," Felipe Matos said on Wednesday. He came to this country from Brazil 11 years ago.
In a major policy announcement, Obama said he would halt the deportation of undocumented youth and allow those younger than 31 that arrived in the country before they were 16 to apply for a two-year work permit.
Congressman David Rivera planned to host workshop and information sessions from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in his Miami district office, located at 12851 SW 42nd St. Suite 131.
Immigrant groups in South Florida gathered Wednesday and provided help for those filling out the applications.
Cheryl Little, executive director at Americans for Immigrant Justice, recommended having an attorney look over the application before it's submitted.
"It's important to get the application right the first time," Little said in a release. "Mistakes or misunderstandings could lead to denial of deferred action and losing the $465 fee or worse – deportation."
Jose Machado from Nicaragua is in the foster care system, after his mother was deported to his native country. He will be applying for temporary legal status, and advocating for those who cannot.
"For people that can't qualify like my friend Julio, just because he doesn't meet the age requirement. So I’m still fighting for those people who couldn’t qualify for this, and to find something more permanent," said Machaco, who attends Miami Senior High School.
Applications are available online at uscis.gov.
More information is available at this Department of Homeland Security link, and at fldream.swer.org.