Immigrants hunt for document trails

Green CardImmigrants who could receive a reprieve from the threat of deportation and a work permit under the executive action announced by President Obama last month are now desperately looking for documents to prove they have been living continuously in the United States since January 1st 2010. This proof can be difficult to find, given that many immigrants have been used to avoiding leaving such paper trails.

The documents that will be accepted as evidence has not yet been announced by the Obama administration; however, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was enacted back in 2012, accepted documents such as baptism records, postmarked letters, vehicle registrations and mortgage documents.

Carl Shusterman, an immigration attorney in Los Angeles, even makes use of social media postings for clients who might otherwise have difficulty producing official documents. Other examples of more left-field forms of proof used by some immigration attorneys include movie rental receipts, customer loyalty programs showing the details and dates of purchases, and vet bills. “You use what you got,” admits Denver immigration attorney Laura Lichter.

The US government intends to start accepting applications in the middle of February for those immigrants eligible for the new and expanded DACA program and by the middle of May for those who are parents of legal residents and US citizens, with the latter likely to be required to produce birth certificates. Bank statements, vaccination records and school transcripts are also likely to be in high demand.