Work Permits for Undocumented Immigrants

Fernando Alquicira, 24, an undocumented immigrant recently received his work permit and deferred action, valid for a two-year period. Being a medical student at the University of Texas Health Science Center, he is now happy that he can work in the United States legally, with the work permit. Alquicira, was brought to the United States in 1993 and he would not have been able to work lawfully in America after completing his studies, if he had not received a federal work permit.

He had received the temporary work permit, under the deferred action program, implemented by President Obama. This deferred action policy, will allow certain eligible undocumented immigrants to stay back in the country and work lawfully, for a certain period of time. However, these young undocumented immigrants may not receive any lawful status by receiving deferred action. They can only remain lawfully in America for 2 years. Though this process is likely to benefit millions of undocumented immigrants, many oppose this process and they say that this deferred action process will encourage illegal immigration.

USCIS announced that it has already approved 4,600 deferred action requests and it is yet to adjudicate around 180,000 requests. There are more than one million undocumented immigrants in the United States and most of them still have not applied for deferred action as they feel that the information that they provide will be used to remove them from the country. Some of them are also waiting for the presidential election, as Mitt Romney has said that he will put an end to the deferred action program, if he becomes the president. He has also said that he will not allow the deferred action recipients to renew their work permits and at the same time he will not cancel the existing permits.

Luis Yanez, a 22 year old undocumented immigrant, has not filed his request for deferred action and he says that he wants to file the application together with his sister. He also says that he is planning to file his application for deferred action only after the election, in November. Likewise, there are many such undocumented immigrants who are still in shadows and many of them do not want to apply for deferred action. That is because, they believe that the personal information that they provide while requesting deferred action, will put their family members at the risk of deportation.