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For Immediate Release:
July 25, 2012
Contact: 518-486-9846
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New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales today launched a comprehensive program to ensure New York’s eligible youth take full advantage of the new federal deferred action process without being exploited by scammers. This program is in response to a change in federal immigration rules that allows certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children to apply for relief from removal from the country and for work authorization. Federal and State authorities expect this change to trigger an increase in scams targeting immigrants.

“We need to make sure these young people are not taken advantage of as they seek to come out of the shadows and contribute to our society,” said Secretary Perales. “This is an opportunity for young people and an opportunity for our State and its economy. It should not be an opportunity for con artists. We have developed a comprehensive plan to ensure eligible youth in New York can take advantage of this positive change in federal immigration rules, while protecting them from fraud.”

The New York Department of State has already received reports of scammers using this new opportunity to take advantage of these young people. Many times, these con artists charge a lot of money for services that are never provided. At times, victims are so damaged that they permanently lose out on important immigration opportunities.

The New York Department of State’s program will help ensure that eligible youth will be able to take advantage of this new opportunity without being scammed. The DOS program will:

• Provide eligible youth with a team of experienced immigration lawyers that will provide immigration law consultations to young people, and legal technical assistance to immigrant service providers across our state

• Coordinate bar associations to expand access to pro bono attorneys who can help young people as they prepare applications for deferred action

• Crackdown on scammers who take advantage of New Yorkers seeking deferred action by charging exorbitant fees or engaging in the unauthorized practice of law

• Help young people to collect the documents they need to demonstrate their eligibility for deferred action by partnering with the Consuls General of nations representing the State’s immigrants

• Work with government agencies to efficiently provide young people vital documents for deferred action applications

• Drive a major, multi-lingual media campaign to ensure that interested New Yorkers have accurate, up-to-date information about deferred action

• Ensure that educators, guidance counselors, proprietary school leaders, and others in contact with potentially eligible youth understand deferred action and are prepared to advise youth and refer them to qualified immigrant service providers

• Expand the multi-lingual New York State New Americans hotline to include information regarding deferred action and to offer referrals to immigrant service providers capable of assisting eligible youth

• Conduct outreach in several languages in immigrant communities, making community presentations to explain deferred action, warn them of scams and provide follow up sessions

The change in federal immigration rules that President Obama announced on June 15, 2012, will allow certain young people to be considered for relief from removal from the country and for work authorization. Under these new rules, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for deferred action, on a case by case basis:

1. Came to the United States under the age of sixteen

2. Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and were present in the United States on June 15, 2012

3. Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States

4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety

5. Are not above the age of thirty

The Obama Administration has called on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to begin implementing the process by August 15, 2012. Estimates suggest that around 800,000 young people nationwide may be eligible for deferred action. Estimates of the number of eligible youth in New York State range from 40,000 to 80,000.