The first days for applying for deferred deportation for some young adults under a program to use prosecutorial discretion brought out tens of thousands of applicants to workshops around the country and a first wave of responses from state governments about what privileges they would and would not extend to the recipients. In Chicago, an estimated 13,000 people lined up at the Navy Pier to get information and apply for deferred deportation status for 15- to 30-year-olds on Aug. 15, the first day applications could be filed under a move announced by President Barack Obama in June. Embassies and consulates around the country had long lines of people seeking documents they might need to apply. Church-run service agencies such as Guadalupe Social Services in the Diocese of Venice, Fla., reported steady calls and full schedules of appointments from people seeking help figuring out the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Lindsay Spinazzola, immigration counselor for Guadalupe Social Services, said she's maxed out at three appointments a day for the next few weeks to help people figure out if they can participate in the program. "I get about 10 calls a day," she said. Spinazzola said about half of the queries she gets are for people who clearly cannot participate in the program, at least not yet, because they involve applications for children who are younger than 15. DACA is open to people who arrived in the United States before age 16, have been here at least five years and were not yet age 31 by June 15, when the program was announced. People younger than 15 who otherwise qualify will be able to apply once they reach age 15, the government announced. In Phoenix, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer issued an executive order saying beneficiaries of the federal status would not be eligible for driver's licenses, in-state tuition rates, or even be allowed to attend state-sponsored GED classes for the high school-equivalency exam. Enrollment in a GED program is one element that can be used to show eligibility for the program. Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman also issued a statement saying licenses and in-state tuition would continue to be off-limits to deferred action participants. But California and Oregon announced that the federal work permit which comes along with the deferred action status would qualify as evidence of lawful status, meaning people with the permits can apply for driver's licenses.
Applicants Line Up for Deferred Deportation