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New policy leaves many young immigrants in legal limbo

This year, the Department of Homeland Security announced important changes to its policy on deportation. In part, the changes put a halt to deportation proceedings against undocumented immigrants who do not pose a threat to security.

Additionally, the DHS announced that 300,000 current deportation cases would be reviewed under these new guidelines.

However, as a recent article from CNN pointed out, the futures of many young undocumented immigrants are still up in the air. This is because even though the DHS's new policy considers deportation cases against people without a criminal record to be "low priority," there is still no permanent solution.

Take the case of a 25-year-old who immigrated to the country in 1991 with his family. As a high school senior applying to colleges at the age of 18, he learned that he was not a legal resident in the country.

Since then, the young man has been in immigration limbo and at risk of deportation. Most recently, he and his brother were granted a "stay of removal," which allows them to stay in the country temporarily, without a timeline or a plan.

Another battle the young man faces is employment. He was able to attend University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after convincing administrators to let him in as an international student without any financial aid or scholarships.

However, even with a degree and several job offers he found obtaining a full time job to be impossible because of his immigration status.

According to a non-profit think tank called The Migration Policy Institute, more than 2.1 million adolescents and young adults are in a similar situation. Many are not currently facing deportation, but their lawful residency is not permanent.

People in this situation could benefit from the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney who may be able to set the path to residency. This process is too important to take on alone.

Source: CNN, "Despite immigration reforms, many young immigrants still in limbo," Yasmin Amer, Dec. 24, 2011

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