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NC Youth Apply for Relief with Deferred Action Policy

Photo: Evelyn Rivera. Photo courtesy of Rivera.
Photo: Evelyn Rivera. Photo courtesy of Rivera.
October 1, 2012

RALEIGH, N.C. - The first of North Carolina's young people are applying, and being approved, for work visas under the newly-enacted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or "DACA," brought about by President Obama. More than 18,000 in North Carolina are eligible.

Evelyn Rivera is going through the application process. Now 24, she moved to the U.S. from her native Colombia at age 3. She is a high school graduate, now working to save money to attend college, and says the new program has given her peace of mind that she won't be deported.

"Just extra safety, knowing that I won't have the risk, but really I think more just relief for my family, so that they don't have to worry about me any more."

Some 1.4 million young people are eligible to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action policy. In North Carolina and around the country, numerous drives and campaigns are taking place to help undocumented immigrants be approved for Deferred Action status.

Rivera's mother, Yolanda Rave, was deported from the U.S. to Columbia in 2007, just months before her daughter's high school graduation. Rave says she researched information, while in Colombia, about how her daughter could stay in the United States.

"She also saying, 'Mom, thank you, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to living here and do all of this.' It's so great for us right now."

Rivera says she knows some of her peers are hesitant to apply for Deferred Action because of the potential for retribution if Republican candidate Mitt Romney were to be elected and overturned the policy.

"I completely understand that concern, but I also know the power that is in numbers, and I feel that the more people apply, the stronger we're going to be."

Romney has yet to declare whether he would uphold the policy, although he has said he would like to see a more permanent immigration reform solution.

Rivera now works on the national "United We Dream" campaign, to help others like her find the ability to stay in the country in which they grew up.

More statistics on DREAMers are available at the Immigration Policy Center, www.immigrationpolicy.org.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC