By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

February 6, 2013

LOS ANGELES, California – Pending approved legislation of a comprehensive immigration reform, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program remains the only form of relief for undocumented young immigrants.

As of last month, statistics from immigration officials show that Filipinos ranked 10th in DACA applications with 3000 submissions.

The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) said it may be an advantage to apply for the program which temporarily prevents the deportation of certain undocumented youth while giving them work permits.

“If you look at past immigration history, a lot of times what happens is the people who went in line or started the process first will eventually be included in the legalization and citizenship so if you are eligible for DACA we do encourage people to apply,” said APALC supervising lawyer, Joyce Noche.

APALC is continuing to host DACA and immigration related clinics with community groups such as the Filipino American Community Los Angeles’ (FACLA) newly arrived Immigration Assistance Program. But on this day, about a dozen attendees had other issues on their minds including petitions and possible immigration reform laws.

“As an immigrant community and community organization FACLA and other organizations like People’s Core, we surely will try to help the community and give everybody a pathway to citizenship,” said FACLA’s Art Garcia.

Filipino immigrant rights advocates are lobbying in Washington DC to protect the family reunification system by eliminating the current huge backlog of filed applications for family reunification visas. Today, applicants in Manila receiving family visas applied over twenty years ago.

Caregiver Tanni Lanzuela said she’s been hoping that immigration reform can eventually bring her two sons to the US after a current 3-year wait.

“Both the president and Congress’ principles that they laid out include some kind of correction to the current visa backlog problem.
Filipinos are affected a lot because of the backlogs,” said Noche.

APALC says that in spite of a promise of a comprehensive immigration reform, the battle is far from over and Filipinos need to continue exploring other immigration remedies.

Contact Steve Angeles at steve_angeles@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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