An estimated 9,000 people living in Mississippi who are in the U.S. illegally may be eligible for temporary relief from deportation under the president’s recent executive action. MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports, it’s expected to begin in the next few months.
Twenty-five-year-old Leticia hopes she will qualify for a program offering temporary relief to parents of U-S citizens. She came to the U.S. from Mexico 8 years ago, before the January 1, 2010, cut-off date. She and her husband have 3 children, all born in Gulfport. And, Leticia says through a translater, they’ve been following the rules while they’ve been here.
"We've been paying our taxes," she says. "We are part of society, never getting in trouble. So we believe this is our chance, and if it's not, we're going to continue trying hard."
Mary Townsend, an immigration specialist with El Pueblo in Biloxi, says the executive action will also expand the current program that offers temporary relief for people who came to the U.S. as children.
About 100 people attended a meeting yesterday at El Pueblo to find out more about the executive action. Among the advice given to those who may be eligible: start gathering the necessary documents, saving for the fee, and be on guard against fraud.
"It happens every single time there's a new announcement of a proposed program or an actual program - people pop up all over the place claiming they can get these benefits for you," she says. "I haven't heard anything specific this time, but I'm sure there are people out there who are saying, 'come pay me $3,000 and I'll put you on a list based on this new program.' Well, there are no green cards happening in this new program, and there is no list to get on. You can't even apply yet - the regulations haven't been finalized and we don't know what forms to use or anything like that."
The program for parents is expected to start accepting applications within six months; the expanded program for childhood arrivals, within three months.