In our post on July 6, we outlined the new immigration policy that may help as many as 1.39 million young people in San Diego and across the U.S. who are currently in the country without legal documentation and wish to obtain work permits. Certain undocumented immigrants seeking temporary work permits will now have the opportunity to receive one for $465. Beginning in mid-August, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will start taking permit applications. These applications will be up for renewal every two years. Some exemptions to the fees will be considered, but the majority of the costs will be taken on by applicants and not by taxpayers.
Qualifying for the program requires immigrants to have been in this country prior to their 16th birthday and be 30 years of age or younger. Applicants must have lived in the country for a minimum of five years and be either currently enrolled in school, graduated from school or have served in the armed forces. Felonies will automatically disqualify interested applicants; as will convictions of three misdemeanors or one 'significant' misdemeanor charge. A significant misdemeanor can include burglary, domestic violence, and drug or gun crimes, or any offense that received a sentence of over 90 days in jail. Fortunately, minor traffic offenses will not be used as a disqualifying factor for this program.
It is estimated that there could be a million applicants for the first year of the program. The cost over the first two years of the program to process applications could be anywhere between $467 and $585 million. Revenues from the required fees could reach $484 million. Eligibility for a fee exemption for the temporary work visas will require proof of homelessness, a minimum of $25,000 in medical debt or a serious disability.
The new program will allow young immigrants seeking temporary work permits the opportunity to remain in this country for a relatively small amount of money. For San Diego residents who are currently in the country illegally, this program can give them a legitimate means of residing and working within the United States, without the fear of deportation. Although there are critics of the program, it stands to help thousands of immigrants receive legitimate entry into the American workforce, at least for the duration of their work permits.
Source: Bradenton Herald, "Immigrants to pay $465 for temporary work permits," Elliot Spagat, Aug. 3, 2012