July 5, 2012
New DHS immigration directive has impact on Jewish community
A new directive of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on June 15th by President Barack Obama, was hailed as beneficial to members of the Jewish community by Agudath Israel of America, a national Orthodox Jewish organization.
“This program has a very significant impact on the Jewish community,” said David Grunblatt, Chair of Agudath Israel’s Legal Services Network Immigration Committee and a partner at Proskauer Rose. “There are many more families in the United States than people are aware of who came to the United States in a legal status, but have since fallen out of status, who brought young children with them, who have attended Yeshivas and other schools, only to discover when they became teenagers that they could not get drivers’ licenses, apply for certain government benefits, and travel outside of the United States because they were out of status. This program will allow these folks who entered as children, to apply for permission to work and for social security numbers.”
Under this directive, explained Eva Hefter, Esq., a Cedarhurst based Immigration and Visa lawyer, “certain individuals who were brought to the United States as children and have been living here illegally since they arrived, may be eligible for work authorization. Effectively, since these individuals do not present a risk to national security, the President has directed the Department of Homeland Security to process them for significant benefits that will allow them to receive permission to work in the U.S., which may lead to receiving a social security card, a driver’s license, and educational benefits.”
To qualify for this deferral of deportation for a period of two years, to be decided on a case-by-case basis, applicants, said Hefter, have to have come to the U.S. under age 16 and currently be under age 30. They have to be in the U.S. and to have been living in the U.S. for the last five years. In addition, they have to be in school, or been graduated from high school, or honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or the Armed Forces of the U.S. and not been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor or threaten national security or public safely.