DENVER (CBS4) – A new national immigration policy designed to give those who came to the United States illegally as children a chance to continue life here is now in effect.
Anyone who came into the country before they were 16 and has been here for five or more years can now apply for deferred deportation. They have to fill out some forms and pay a $465 fee to take part. The Obama administration policy is not without its critics, though.
Nancy Olivas, 21, has been in Colorado since she was 10.
“When I started working when it started getting more difficult. I knew I had to hide myself in some kind of way,” Olivas told CBS4.
Olivas’s father has been deported. She is now applying for deferred action with the help of Trusted Colorado, a group linking illiegal immigrants with trusted lawyers.
President Barack Obama says suspending deportations for these young immigrants is the right thing to do.
Opponents say the policy rewards those who broke the law and that since it’s temporary for only two years, it doesn’t really help anybody.
“An executive order is of course a short term matter it can be reversed by subsequent presidents,” Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said recently.
The Immigration Policy Institute says 1.8 million young immigrants may be eligible for deferred action under the policy, 25,000 of whom are in Colorado.
For the Ramirez sisters in Denver, coming out of the shadows means everything.
“I didn’t have a choice to come here. I have done nothing bad here,” one sister said.
To qualify, applicants have been in the country for at least five years, have a high school diploma or be enrolled in school, have no criminal record and provide proof of their identity.