On Saturday, September 8th, Sarasota immigration attorney Victoria Jaensch Karins spoke at a UnidosNow forum on Deferred Action. The forum was held at the USF campus on Tamiami Trail.
UnidosNow has been organizing many events around immigration issues in general and Deferred Action in particular. They want to make sure that the public is as educated as possible about the new policy. While Deferred Action is bringing the hope of a better life to many people, there are many potential pitfalls and questions that come with the application. We witnessed some of those on Saturday.
One the biggest concerns had to do with the use of multiple or false social security numbers. Many people who came to the United States without inspection and then have tried to work have done so by picking up a false social security number. This presents a problem when applicants for Deferred Action fill out the I-765 Work Authorization Form and they have to enter “all Social Security numbers ever used.” Quite a few attendees at the forum asked questions about how best to approach this issue.
We do not think that the use of a false Social Security number by itself will disqualify an applicant BUT USCIS is reviewing each application in full and weighing each factor against the other. So, while having a false Social Security number may not be a disqualifying factor by itself, it may become so when combined with a criminal record. Therefore, we always recommend at least consulting with an attorney about your case before you apply.
A reminder: Deferred Action applicants are declaring themselves an illegal alien to a government bureau, there are quite a few potential pitfalls.
Another question that stuck out had to do with the possibility of getting a Driver License after applying for Deferred Action. The answer is YES! Those who are granted Deferred Action can apply for a Driver License.
One attendee in particular wanted to know what the benefits of Deferred Action were. With only a 2-yr validity and the possibility that the it may be repealed it can seem difficult to justify the effort and expense of applying for Deferred Action.
But we believe that the potential benefits far outweigh the costs. Once an applicant is granted Deferred Action s/he will have a valid Social Security number, a valid work authorization and the ability to apply for a valid driver’s license. A lot can happen in two years and there are strategies to gaining a more permanent status once Deferred Action has been granted.