Local leaders provide free legal assistance for "dreamers"
POSTED: Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 4:28pm
UPDATED: Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 10:06pm
EL PASO (KTSM) — The deferred action program signed by president Obama in 2012 continues helping many young dreamers throughout the country gain legal status in the U.S.
This morning, the office of state representative Naomi Gonzalez, along with local non-profits hosted a workshop to provide free legal consultation to those seeking legal assistance.
Authorities are encouraging those who may qualify for the deferred action to receive professional legal assistance, they say that can be a key for a successful result.
One young man who preferred not to give his name arrived to the United States as a child. After graduating from Jefferson High School and attending UTEP, he now faces a deportation battle.
"it makes you very different like a second class citizen from somebody who's been afforded all the normal opportunities so it does interfere with normal life even the fact of just not being able to drive that alone and it creates fear," the dreamer said.
His story is similar to the thousands of dreamers still living in the shadows.
State rep. Naomi Gonzalez’s office and immigration attorneys from Las Americas Advocacy Center hosted a workshop to help El Paso dreamers in the process.
"In El Paso there stands to be more than 15 thousand youth that can benefit from this particular program and so the more information that we can give this individuals the better because these are some of the youth that are going to contribute in a positive way to our nation," Rep. Gonzalez said.
According to attorney Gabriela Contreras, dreamers need to be vigilant while filing the petition. She says being a fraud victim is very common in these situations.
"it's very popular here in the borderland area people who advertise their services as notarios who say it's just a matter of filling out a form however that is unlawful practice of law if they're not being supervised by an attorney," Contreras said.
But for those waiting for an answer, the advice gathered today represents an opportunity and hope.
"Many people who have undocumented children can still attend the offices and talk to the lawyers to get advice, my daughter has many possibilities I don't know how long it will take but this is good," El Paso resident Maria Silvia said.
"This is pretty much one of the few things that we've had on our side so it's important that people take advantage of it because you never know." The unidentified dreamer said.