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Old 06-01-2015
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Default Boston helps immigrants prep for Obama's order

Sunday, May 31, 2015 By: Jordan Graham

The city of Boston has launched a program to help illegal immigrants apply for protection under President Obama’s sweeping reform — even as a federal court has thrown the executive orders into legal limbo.

“We’re expecting that either the court’s going to make a ruling or something’s going to happen where we’re going to be working with undocumented people and help them become citizens,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said. “This is really giving people some information on this once it happens.”

A clinic held yesterday by the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians at Mario Umana Academy in East Boston saw hundreds of undocumented immigrants come for information and an informal screening process.

“It’s a lot of work from (the beginning) to applying, so we wanted to make sure people are prepared,” said Alejandra St. Guillen, director of the Office of New Bostonians. She said about 300 people came looking for help.

Known as Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, Obama’s immigration reform was frozen by a federal judge last week after 26 states sued, contesting the president’s ability to allow undocumented parents of children born in the United States protection from deportation, as well as his expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which offers protections to immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. An appeal of the order will be heard by a federal appeals court in July.

“I’m here to help others like my parents, who could benefit from these programs. People don’t have the information, people need to be guided,” said Cesar Boc, who volunteered at the clinic. Boc came to the U.S. when he was 11, and was included in the first DACA executive order in 2012. Boc said his parents will likely be eligible for DAPA when it becomes an option.

“It just goes to the dignity of a human person, that all of us are human beings and all of us need to live in a just society,” he said.

The event was held using $15,000 in private donations. A coalition of local business advocates last week backed the city’s initiative, citing the Council of Economic Advisers estimates that the executive action would increase Massachusetts’ GDP by $2.4 billion to $5.6 billion over the next decade.

There are roughly 51,000 immigrants expected to be eligible for the expanded DACA and DAPA, which would allow immigrants to obtain work permits and driver’s licenses but does not include a path to citizenship.

Walsh also called on lawmakers in Washington to pass more comprehensive immigration reform.

“It’s time for Congress to act,” he said. “They’ve got to start acting like what they got elected for and act like legislators and legislate.”
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boston , immigrant , obama

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