Jersey City Filipinos Tackle President Obama’s Executive Order

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Jersey City – The Filipino Immigrants and Workers Organizing Project (FIWOP) joined forces with the Saint Peter’s University’s Center for Undocumented Students and other community and immigrant rights organizations for a community forum on President Barack Obama’s Executive Order on Immigration.

“We organized a forum on Pres. Obama’s recent Executive Order on Immigration because we want to help our kababayans by providing information about this new immigration relief and about the resources and help that they can get,” said Hanalei Ramos, a member of  FIWOP.

The said forum provided information about the extended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA). Pres. Obama extended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and expanded it to cover undocumented parents of Legal Permanent Residents/”Green Card Holders” and Citizens called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA).

For DACA, age limits were taken out. Now, those over 30 years old can apply.  It also extended the cut off entry date to January 1, 2010. Also, the period for which DACA and the accompanying employment authorization is granted will be extended to 3 years instead of 2 years. This is a temporary immigration relief and does not provide a path to citizenship.

According to FIWOP, this forum also aimed to provide information on resources where to get help and what to avoid. “From the experience from DACA applications in 2012, only 4,000 out of an estimated 22,000 eligible Filipinos applied and some of the reasons are the high cost, lack of information and fear. We want to change that statistic by holding events like this,” said Ramos. “We also want to warn our kababayans on fake lawyers, “notarios”, who are out there to take advantage of those who are planning to apply.”

An estimated 5 million out of the 11 million undocumented immigrants will benefit from the said immigration relief. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done.

“We celebrate this Executive Order as a product of activists and various sectors of the community’s efforts to pressure Obama to provide immigration relief, but we also recognize that a lot of our kababayans were left out and does not qualify. That is even more reason why we need to come together and push for genuine immigration reform,” said Yancy Gandionco, also a member of FIWOP.

“The Filipino Immigrants and Workers Organizing Project is an initiative that came out of the growing need for a Filipino community organization that will empower and advocate for our rights and welfare here in New Jersey. We aim to take on various issues such as immigration and worker’s rights,” Gandionco concluded

The said forum was cosponsored by Action 21, American Friends Service Committee, Anakbayan New Jersey, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns and We Are One New Jersey.

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