In November, President Barack Obama announced a series of executive actions that will allow certain undocumented immigrants to adjust their legal status and temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation. In a process called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, parents of U.S. born children or lawful permanent residents who entered the country on or before Jan. 1, 2010, have no criminal record, and have resided continuously in the United States, will be protected against removal and receive work authorization for three years.
Although these initiatives have not yet been implemented and the application process has not been opened, efforts to educate Princeton residents who might be eligible to adjust their status under this law are underway. The Princeton Human Services Department and the Princeton Police Department have partnered with local organizations, including the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Princeton Public Library, and La Hermandad Latinoamericana to coordinate a series of information and education sessions at the Public Library community room. The next session is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 27th. Information, resources and brief private counseling with local immigration attorneys will be available to attendees.
While applications are not being accepted at this time, residents who believe they may be eligible can prepare by gathering documents that establish factors such as their identity, relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and continuous residence in the United States over the last five years or more.
“We encourage all residents who believe are eligible to attend these sessions,” Elisa Neira, executive director of the Princeton Human Services Department, said. “Since the process is still in the development phase, this is the perfect time to plan ahead, to learn about the current state of the application process, to find out if they are eligible and if so to learn what documents they will need in order to apply.”
Town officials are concerned that residents not fall victims to potential immigration scams.
“It is important that residents understand that no applications are being accepted, and anyone offering to help them submit an application for a fee is just “ripping” them off,” said Princeton Police Officer Jorge Narvaez, who added that he has already learned of immigration scams from some residents.
For more information please contact the Princeton Human Services Department at (609) 688-2055 or e-mail at ENeira@princetonnj.gov.