Fieldnote, 20 Oct. 2012

Deferred Action workshop on the UK campus, the law school. My first time in this building. Difficult to find parking as it was also homecoming weekend, and the football game crowd had already showed up en masse for their tailgating rituals.

Here are some of the handwritten notes I took during the DACA training in preparation for the free legal clinic next Saturday, which I will be volunteering at.


About 28 people attending DACA workshop–led by organization serving immigrants in Kentucky, more specifically Fayette County. One staf position at this organization, all volunteer staff providing services to the community. I have my folder, hear what I can to learn for the workshop. Several UK law students here getting the information so as to help out next week. Will serve 50 or so DACA young people next week, that’s the organization’s goal.

When I walked in I saw JS, the lawyer I had lunch with a few weeks back. His buddy Tim sent me a message asking me to attend the workshop, even though he wouldn’t be there; he’s was going to NYC for the weekend. JS said he wanted to get me involved in his organization, and I said sure. Already promising myself to get further stretched. What I’m doing best here in the Bluegrass I reckon.

The political situation of DACA, smart move on the behalf of Obama in order to win Latino voters for the presidential election. NOT the Dream act, still a lucha on that front.

The workshop was led by Lexington’s two best immigration lawyers. “The only immigration lawyers,” says one. Turns out these lawyers are both immigrants, hence the sensitivity they have with the issue. He defines a few things

“Not citizen” is an alien in eyes of the State.

Groups of aliens, not immigrants, immigrants are those with proper documentation according to federal law. Aliens, refugees, asylees–evolutions toward citizenship. Degrees of participation in the community, but also official designation and access to the benefits of citizenship. Also different degrees of documentation, from none, to overstayed visas (of different types). Most undocumented folks DACA serves are not legally recognized as immigrants. They are in the country illegally, could be deported at any time. DACA only prevents deportation, it is NOT a pathway to citizenship or even residency.

Around June 2011: deportation halt, except for criminal cases. People  to be naturalized listed on priority lists, low priority and high priority. High priority.

Deferred action, there is the opportunity to defend oneself, deffer removal, but just putting off, deferral, differ and defer.

Common trust, confianza, develop this folks applying. To get trust, and only deal with “clean cases”. Because with one error, person could have to appear before judicial system, and deportation hearing could result. Trust to establish no falsity on affadavits, and looking to other charges for legal status. DACA is not a permanent sollution, but the best option . . .

USCIS will not share the info accumulated from DACA folks with ICE.

Two years after . . . two years. After two years depends on the candidate, who wins the presidential race.

DACA folks will get their drivers license because they will have social security numbers. Prevents them from being deported for traffic stops. Able to travel domestically, later abroad with additional paperwork. Lessen their risks in everyday life. Psychological relief, not as much anxiety for working.

Why apply from two folks volunteering and also applying:

“I used to get really, really bad chest pains when I saw a police car.”

“My family’s here. I’d have to see us get separated.”

“It’s something they’re giving us, so we should take advantage.”

“It’s a psychological relief. We’ve been twelve years here. We’re going to take it.”

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