Imagine being punished for something that your parents chose to do. Sound like something that only happened in days gone by? For many young immigrants who are currently living in the Los Angeles area without legal documentation, this is what it may feel like. Very few, if any of them had any say in coming to the United States with their parents. They didn’t choose to immigrate to the country illegally, so why should they be punished for something that they did not decide to do?

For many of these young immigrants, they may feel stuck, unable to move forward. In order to attend college or get a good job, proof of citizenship may be required. Some may argue that they could always return to their home country, but for those brought here as young children, this country is all they know. Oftentimes there is nothing left for them in their country of origin.

This is the case for one 18-year-old who came to California with his family when he was just 5-years-old. He began to worry about how he would be able to go to college or find work. He got his answer last summer when Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was announced. His application was approved and now his dream of attending college may become a reality. The new policy allows those who were brought to the U.S. before they turned 16 to live and work in the country for two years. They can reapply when that two years is up. Nearly 300,000 applicants have already been approved.

If you are interested in deferred action for yourself or a family member, you may wish to speak with an immigration attorney who can advise you on the best way to proceed.

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, “Reaching for the American dream: Deportation reprieve opens opportunities for young immigrants,” Donna Jones, May 25, 2013