If you came to Los Angeles from another country when you were a child, this country is probably all that you know. The thoughts of having to leave it and return to a country that you likely do not even remember can be terrifying. This is why so many immigrants are excited about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program, which was just announced last year, allows those who came to the country as children to apply for legal status so they are able to work and live in the U.S. for a certain amount of time. Once that time is up, they can apply again to stay longer.
Yet there are some who are not taking advantage of the program. This seems to be especially true for Filipinos. According to the Pilipino Workers Center who looked at U.S.immigration statistics, there are approximately 50,000 Filipino youth who are eligible to apply to the program. Of these 50,000, only 3,500 have applied so far.
Some believe that the reason the number is so small is because of the cost of the application. People are required to pay $465 when they apply, although a small amount of people do get fee waivers and some may even qualify for scholarships.
If you are considering applying for deferred action, but are worried about the cost, you may benefit from speaking with an attorney. A lawyer can go over your options with you and guide you toward programs that may be able to help.
Source: ABS-CBN News, “Why aren’t more Pinoy youths applying for DACA?” Steve Angeles, Sep. 9, 2013