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MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday allayed fears of young undocumented Filipinos in the United States of a policy seen to lead to their possible deportation.
Under the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA), arising from a memorandum by US President Barack Obama, young immigrants are granted temporary stay and work in the US as they await decision on their citizenship status, the DFA said.
Philippine Embassy Consul Arlene Magno said that the policy “continues to be a major cause for alarm among potential DACA youth, preventing them from applying.”
Tatyana Delgado of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, meanwhile, said that the DACA is not an enforcement tool nor a program used to go after the undocumented, unless one is determined to be a threat to public safety.
She added that if someone’s application gets denied, no further action would be taken against the applicant.
Gloria Williams-Brevard, Community Relations Officer of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, urged Filipinos to “set aside their fears” as DACA is an opportunity for those eligible to apply.
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The US Department of Homeland Security lists qualifications for eligible DACA applicants:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.