Hopes Dashed for Young Immigrants Who Miss Deadline

The new Obama immigration policy has created hope for many undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US with their parents years ago. Under the new policy, those who are in the country with no legal status, are under the age of 30, and were brought into the US when they were under the age of 16 qualify for work permits. Those who qualify under the new policy do not have to worry about deportation and can apply for legal status in the US.

While the new policy is great news for many, it has also created problems for some undocumented immigrants. Those who have turned 31 recently or just a few months ago do not qualify for legal status or a work permit under the new policy rules, and that has some questioning the decision to limit legal status to those who are under the age of 30. The situation is especially frustrating for those who missed eligibility by only a few months because they have recently celebrated a birthday.

The new policy will help hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought into the US illegally by their parents – in some cases, decades ago. According to many immigration advocacy groups, qualified undocumented immigrants are excited about the program and have already been contacting organizations about applying.  The Department of Homeland Security has not yet created a process for applying for a work permit under the program. Once the process is in place, it is likely that applications will start being accepted. In the meantime, many groups are advising qualified immigrants to start gathering their documentation in preparation for applying. Once applications start being accepted, it is likely that the Department of Homeland Security will start getting a flood of applications.

However, for those who do not qualify because they happen to have approached their 31 birthday before the policy was made, the application process is not good news. Due to the qualification requirements, these individuals will continue to have no status and no work permits in the US. This has some frustrated. When announcing the new policy, President Obama stated that the measure is for those who were brought into the country illegally by their parents and may not have understood or even known that they were undocumented. Unfortunately, many people in their later 30s fit this profile precisely but will not be able to take advantage of the new policy due to their date of birth. It is not known why the measures includes only those who are under the age of 30 and it has not been announced whether this age requirement will be relaxed or reconsidered at any point in the future.