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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Anniversary of DACA a Reminder We Need Citizenship for All | Opinion

ARMANDO JIMENEZ-CARBARIN , DACA RECIPIENT AND ORGANIZER WITH MAKE THE ROAD PENNSYLVANIA ON 6/22/22 AT 8:00 AM EDT When I walked across the stage in a cap and gown to receive my college diploma last month, the moment was almost surreal. My graduation day came just weeks before the 10-year anniversary of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)—the program that granted me and over 700,000 other young people who came to the U.S. as children temporary protections from deportation. As I shook the hands of my professors, 10 years after I first applied to get some kind of stability in my life, I couldn't help but reflect on how far I've come in building my future here, and how far our country still has to go to make sure every person gets the chance to live with dignity and respect. I always wanted to go to college, but it felt so far out of reach. I didn't have the funds, in-state tuition, or economic assistance provided to those with citizenship. Still, I visited local colleges with a positive mindset, hoping things would just work out. But it seemed like everywhere I turned, doors were closed shut. My local community college told me that I had to pay the "foreign" tuition rate—three times the standard tuition—even though I attended K-12 public schools in the city where I grew up. The recruitment counselor at another college told me to consider going back to Mexico, wait out the 10-year ban, and try coming to the U.S. the "right way." When former President Barack Obama first announced DACA in 2012, it felt like a window opened. I applied for the program as soon as I could, and thought about all the years of hard work it had taken to win something for the immigrant community. My mother and I had attended dozens of protests together starting in 2001, when she first told me about the DREAM Act. We felt proud to be a part of making DACA a reality. Once my application was granted, I felt a sense of freedom for the first time in a long time. DACA gave me the chance to explore opportunities and take risks without having the threat of deportation and family separation looming over my head for a little while. I quit my restaurant cook job because I was no longer tied down to one place that wouldn't check my papers, and in 2017 I took a job with Make the Road Pennsylvania, helping to organize Latinx communities in my home state to win dignity and justice for immigrants and working-class people. Around the same time, I applied for and won a community service scholarship to attend a local college. None of this would have been possible without DACA's temporary protections. A woman holds up signs as immigrant rights activists gather outside of the Brooklyn residence of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) calling on a pathway to citizenship on Oct. 5, 2021. But temporary programs like DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) are just that—temporary and unstable. As a DACA recipient, I've only been able to plan my life in the 2-year increments that go along with my renewal. Things like buying a home, continuing on to graduate school, or starting a family are always uncertain because I don't know what the future holds or if my renewal will be approved. It almost feels like I'm not fully grown up, because every 2 years I'm under someone's surveillance. DACA is also incredibly expensive—reapplication fees cost $495, which we're on the hook for every two years. Meanwhile, politicians use DACA and TPS as political footballs, arguing in court and on TV, revoking and reinstating these programs, while our lives and futures hang in the balance. DACA also doesn't guarantee in-state tuition in states like Pennsylvania, where I live, and it doesn't allow us to travel freely to other countries, including our birth countries. This summer I had made all the arrangements to travel abroad for educational purposes but was denied by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) because the trip wasn't an "emergency." I was kept from an amazing academic and personal opportunity simply because of paperwork and red tape. For more information, contact us at: http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html

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