Who said government can’t do anything fast? Just three weeks ago Fi2W covered the launch of “deferred action,” a new program aimed at helping undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Yesterday, The Associate Press reported that the first batch of applicants for the new Deferred Action Program for Childhood Arrivals has been approved and will be notified this week. The Homeland Security Department says that those approved are just a fraction of the 72,000 undocumented youth who have applied since August 15th. Says the article in the Houston Chronicle
The first wave of approvals comes months head of DHS’ own internal estimates of how long the application process for the administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program could take — and less than 60 days before the Nov. 6 elections. According to an internal DHS document obtained by The Associated Press, the department’s Citizenship and Immigration Services had estimated that each application could take several months to be completed.
The New York Times notes that, at the current rate, by election time in November there could be as many as 200,000 applicants and many thousands of work permits distributed to undocumented youth as part of the program. Obama is already gaining political benefits from the program says the Times, with immigration issues taking center stage at last week’s Democratic National Convention, putting pressure on Republican candidate Mitt Romney to reveal his plans for the program if elected.
In Los Angeles, library cards could soon double as photo ID
Those approved for deferred action would be eligible for drivers’ licenses in most states. In Los Angeles, officials are going a step further, planning to transform the city’s library cards into a form of ID for its estimated population of 300,000 undocumented immigrants. Following similar programs in other California cities like San Fracisco, Oakland and Richmond, Los Angeles hopes the library cards would allow people to apply for bank accounts and use credible methods of transferring money internationally. Banks usually require official ID to open an account. Reports the Los Angeles Times:
…anyone able to provide proof of L.A. residency would be eligible for the library card, said Councilman Richard Alarcon, who proposed the concept. Banking services would include direct deposit, international and domestic money transfers and the debiting. Alarcon said that in his Northeast Valley district, some immigrants who don’t use banks end up being gouged by payday lenders or robbed if they keep large sums of cash on hand.
“They can be scammed and taken advantage of,” Alarcon said. “This will help end that.”
Fi2W is supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation and the Sirus Fund.