World Bulletin/News Desk
Young illegal immigrants - many of whom have spent much of their lives attending schools in the United States - will be able to begin emerging from their uncertain status on Aug. 15 when the Obama administration begins letting them apply to stay temporarily.
An estimated 800,000 young undocumented residents could qualify for the program that would grant deportation deferrals of at least two years for those who are approved.
Two months after President Barack Obama surprised the Hispanic community with a move to suspend deportations for some young illegal immigrants, the Department of Homeland Security will begin accepting applications that also would grant them work permits.
"You cannot overstate how important this moment will be in immigrant communities and Latino neighborhoods across the country," said Democratic Representative Luis Gutierrez, who represents a Chicago district with a large Hispanic immigrant population.
Before Obama's program has even gotten off the ground, however, several Democratic congressmen warned that lawyers and other immigration "specialists" have been trying to prey on the young illegal immigrants. Telling them they need to move quickly to apply, they are charging exorbitant fees to help with applications that most will be able to do on their own, the lawmakers said.
"We have had cases of folks coming into our office ... telling us of lawyers who want to charge $750 to get an application ready," said one House Democratic staffer with knowledge of the issue.
For years, legislation has languished in the U.S. Congress that is aimed at aiding children of undocumented parents who were illegally brought into the United States through no fault of their own. Some entered as young as infants.
Obama, whose administration has aggressively deported illegals with criminal backgrounds, announced on June 15 that he was moving unilaterally to help this group of youths - many of them Hispanic - who have become more and more vocal in calling for help.
With the Nov. 6 presidential elections looming, Obama responded to the pressure from the Hispanic community, which is an increasingly important voting block in key swing states such as Florida, Nevada and Colorado.
When he made the announcement, many Republicans in Congress criticized the action, including Senator John McCain - Obama's 2008 opponent for president - who accused him of a "politically motivated power grab."
Obama said it was simply "the right thing to do" following Republican roadblocks to legislation. He added that this unique group of illegals "are Americans in their hearts and minds; in every single way but one - on paper."
Alejandro Mayorkas, director of Homeland Security's Citizenship and Immigration Services, told reporters in a briefing on Friday that applicants must be under the age of 31 and must have entered the United States before they turned 16 years old.
While the government will do background checks on the individuals, Mayorkas said federal officials will not use information from applications to trigger immigration proceedings against them, unless they find a security threat or serious criminal background.
Once the two-year reprieve expires, an additional two-year waiver can be sought, a senior administration official said.
Angela Kelly, an immigration specialist at the liberal Center for American Progress, praised the rules being set by the administration. But she added, "The program will rise or fall depending on how clear, consistent and speedily both the policy and execution of the program goes."
Applicants will have to pay a $465 fee, which Mayorkas said would cover the government's cost of administering the program. The senior administration official said that it could take several months to conduct background investigations and then grant the requests for each applicant.
While Obama's program does not put these youths on a path to citizenship, which some Democrats want, it would allow them to gain some basic privileges, such as obtaining drivers' licenses that are often needed to hold down jobs, open bank accounts or get library cards.
Ferguson has been on edge for weeks as residents await the grand jury's decision.
Iran and the six major powers - the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia and Germany - decided on Monday to extend the talks until June 30, 2015
Ebola – a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure – has killed roughly 5,420 people, mostly in West Africa, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Herzog said Netanyahu had failed on the economic and security levels, and also in terms of the peace process with the Palestinians.
Hagel resigned from his post following a difficult tenure in which he reportedly struggled to fit in with the U.S. administration’s national security team.
The election monitoring project, "Eye on Elections," said its observers had documented 68 violations during the first round of elections
Parliament speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari said that discussions over the motion would be postponed until conflicts between MPs were settled
Darren Wilson, who may be indictmented as early as Monday, married a fellow Ferguson, Missouri, police officer, says the New York Times.
Author of article that led to jailing of website editor says law is 'excuse for repression'
Israeli officials came to examine the homes and take measurements in what appeared to be a prelude to demolition operations, according to eyewitnesses.
Under the accord, Iran agreed to halt its most sensitive nuclear work in exchange for some sanctions easing.
It is unclear where next month's talks will take place, he said, noting that during the extension period, Tehran will be able to continue to access around $700 million per month in sanctions relief.
Abu Jameh, head of the so-called Palestinian Salafist Scholars Association, is the third individual to have his Egyptian citizenship revoked since President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi assumed power in June.
Jens Stoltenberg calls on Alliance members to 'face up to challenges' of 'violence and extremism'
A number of public buses and private vehicles were swept away by floods in different parts of southwestern Morocco
South Africa and Palestine are expected to sign several agreements, including one for the establishment of a new joint cooperation commission.