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Immigrants Prepare to Apply for DAPA Program

December 18, 2014

MIAMI, Fla. — Today (Thursday) is International Migrants Day, and for thousands of Florida's undocumented workers, the threat of deportation is, at least temporarily, behind them.

Their collective sigh of relief is a result of President Obama's Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program, announced last month. However, as Natalia Jaramillo with the Florida Immigrant Coalition explains, those who are eligible are now busy making sure paperwork is in order so they can take advantage of the program.

"It's going to change many people's lives," Jaramillo says. "People are going to be able to finally be free of fear of being detained and deported, and separated from their families. People are going to be able to work legally."

The Florida Immigrant Coalition is hosting an informational session in Miami today to help those who might be eligible.

An estimated 300,000 Florida residents may be able to defer their deportation. They will be able to apply starting in May.

December 18 was declared International Migrants Day by the United Nations in 2000.

While some immigrants will directly benefit, Jaramillo predicts the DAPA Program will have a positive impact on entire communities.

"If we don't spend our taxes detaining and deporting these people – but instead, give them an opportunity to fully participate in our society – we're going to get a lot of revenues through that," she says. "And our resources are going to be directed toward more important needs for our security."

While groups such as the Florida Immigrant Coalition, United Families and National Latina Institute support the President's administrative relief offered through the program, they emphasize the importance of a permanent solution to the country's immigration crisis.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - FL