Undocumented youth could soon get work permitsPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- The Obama administration will begin charging $465 this month for temporary work permits for many young, illegal immigrants.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said Friday it will begin accepting applications August 15. The permits will be granted for two years and are subject to renewal.
An estimated 40,000 to 50,000 undocumented youth in Arizona could qualify for the program.
Serious crimes, including a DUI conviction, will disqualify an applicant.
The guidelines do not provide a path to citizenship.
"But they will be able to open a bank account here, have a credit report, open charge cards, and live a more normal life out of the shadows," said immigration attorney Jose Penalosa.
Among those planning to apply is 23-year-old Joshua Montano of Phoenix, who graduated in 2011 with a degree from ASU.
"The degree is hanging on my wall. I want what I studied to be put into use," said Montano.
He and others are spending the next two weeks gathering documents for their application packet.
"I have my birth certificate, immunization records, and old report cards from 5th grade," Montano said, rattling off the papers he's gathered so far.
President Barack Obama announced the plan's broad outlines in June. Immigrants must have arrived in the United States before their 16th birthday, be 30 or younger, lived in the U.S. at least five years, and been in school, graduated or served in the military.
The plan has drawn critics, including Arizona Congressman Ben Quayle, who issued this statement to 3TV Friday night:
"Secretary Napolitano's decision to move forward with the implementation of guidelines that directly contradict federal law is extremely damaging. Secretary Napolitano's job is to protect our borders, not render them meaningless."
More information on the program and guidelines can be found by visiting www.NoDreamDeferred.org.