Young undocumented immigrants can’t afford to get legal

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Screen Shot 2013-04-26 at 7.20.58 AMSAN DIEGO, CA — Since President Obama’s Deferred Action Status Program went into effect last year, thousands of young undocumented immigrants have had the opportunity to get legal, but so far the number of those who have, has been unexpectedly low.

Immigration experts estimate there are roughly 25 thousand young undocumented immigrants in San Diego who qualify for Deferred Action, also known as DACA.

It gives young people brought into the country illegally as children by their parents, a permit to live, work and go to school, legally for 2 years.

“We saw that a lot of people applied right when the program started but starting this year we saw a dramatic decrease,” said Daniel Alfaro with Alliance San Diego; he’s helped process dozens of applications for the program.

Numbers from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services agency show less than 10 percent of those who qualify have gotten their DACA Permit.

“We’re supposed to pay like 465 dollars,” said 17 year old, Asriel De Leon, who qualifies for DACA.

Add lawyer fees and the total can reach nearly a thousand dollars per person.

De Leon says his parents haven’t been able to gather the money for his application, so to help he’s taken a job as a janitor, getting paid under the table.

“For the weekend its like a hundred dollars, for Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night,” said De Leon, who makes less than minimum wage.

“We know that money is one of the issues,” said Alfaro.

“Many are also choosing not to apply, waiting to see if their parents can also get a chance to get legalized under immigration reform,” he added.

But Alfaro says waiting, is a risk not worth taking.

“This is a benefit they can get now, its protection from deportation,” he said.

8 comments

  • Guest

    We can't afford to pay mortgages and taxes, millions of Americans losing their homes and jobs, go whine about money some where else, perhaps Mexico?.

  • Legal citizen

    This is another smack in the face of every American that has worked hard to just get by in every day life. To those that came here illegally, suck it up and move back to wherever you came from. The powers that be (wasteful government), must stop the free rides for any and all illegals in America! Or expect the system to fail (go broke). The fact that my family lives within it's means, and the government continues to tax and spend like it grows on trees is going to collapse our great country! History does repeat it's self!

  • Paco

    Where in the article did anyone ask or a handout. This kid was working trying to save up the money. Dee and legal citizen, take your racist comments to another state where you are still the majority!

  • Freedom of speach

    The majority on this comment section has spoken paco,
    Guess what? None so far are even remotely racist! You, on the other hand. Have shown your true racist side, telling anyone to take comments elsewhere. Talk about calling the kettle another color (I used a none descript color, not to seem racist). The free rides are going to come to a close. Once the coffers run dry paco! Enjoy the freedom of speech here on this comment section! :-)

    • Fred

      I wonder what illegal means in Mexico??

      There is no such word, they do whatever they want including stealing from us law abiding LEGAL Americans.

      The Mexican government sends them north of the border.

      • Guest

        Actually the Mexican Government has been known to kill illegals coming into their country through their southern borders

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