daca Archives | UnidosNow

Oscar Portillo-Meza: A Role Model Exemplifying UNIDOS

By Sandy Chase

UnidosNow fosters improvement through education, integration, and civic engagement.

But when you get to know our Future Leaders and families, you’ll agree that UNIDOS is an acronym that describes Hispanic and Latino youth who are learning skills and acquiring knowledge for empowerment:

  • Undeterred by Obstacles
  • Navigating life’s journey to fulfillment
  • Inspired by leaders in all facets of life
  • Determined to be successful
  • Overcoming adversity
  • Setting a model for others to follow

A 17-year-old immigrant from Honduras, Oscar defies obstacles confronting his personal and academic goals.  “I’ve weaponized those barriers and turned them into the tools that have helped me construct bridges and tear down walls.”

Oscar is fervent about public service, relaying how President Barack Obama’s accomplishments have also reaffirmed that belief:  “I, too, will continue to challenge myself and others for the betterment of our.”

A dually enrolled Bayshore High School senior, Oscar shares his day at the State College of Florida.  The following activities describe a birds-eye view of his typical experiences—highlighting his determination to make a difference:

  • President of three clubs and the Student Government Association
  • Past editor on the yearbook staff
  • Current writer for the school newspaper
  • Fellow on political campaigns, involved in voter registration and restoration of voter’s rights.

“Ambition” understates this young man’s strengths. Oscar is determined to pursue undergraduate studies in political science and economics, after which he plans to attend graduate school for a Master’s of Political Science or a Juris Doctorate to practice corporate law.

UnidosNow has helped him better realize his academic goals and lighten his path when it appeared bleak.  “When I began applying to colleges, I learned about my status as a non-citizen, but didn’t despair because UnidosNow helped guide me through the process.  My college and career advisor—an insightful, knowledgeable counselor, connected me with the organization’s directors, who have encouraged me and others in similar situations to feel like the best days lie not behind us—but ahead.”

Oscar has already been accepted to over 25 universities nationwide; he’s waiting to hear from more.  But schools like the University of South Florida, the University of Tampa, and Fordham University top his list.

Eventually, Oscar plans to become a senator.  “I want to do as much as I can for Americans, also dedicating some of my life to the nonprofit sector, with an organization like the Human Rights Campaign or the Save the Children Foundation.”

Oscar’s visions define success:  “When you’re old and frail, you have no regrets.  You’ve turned your thoughts into action, fighting every battle you’ve deemed right for everyone.”

What the Temporary Suspension of DACA and DAPA Mean

Keep_Calm_DACA_DAPA

The week has started with sad news about DACA and DAPA, for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).

Today, February 18th, the expansion of DACA was supposed to start, but now it is on a temporary suspension since “[a] South Texas judge in Texas [Hanen] has ordered an injunction on U.S. President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration that permitted millions of undocumented immigrants to stay in the country”, as TIME magazine informs.

This means that also the plans to accept applications for DAPA has been suspended temporarily.

However, not everything is lost. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh C. Johson, stated on a press release yesterday that he strongly disagrees with Judge Hanen’s decision: “The Department of Justice, legal scholars, immigration experts and even other courts have said that our actions are well within our legal authority”, he wrote on the note.

Now, according to the White House, the Department of Justice plans to appeal the judge’s decision, “and we believe the courts will ultimately reject this lawsuit because it has absolutely no legal merit”, writes Gabe Ortiz, from America’s Voice.

He sent an email blast Tuesday were she affirmed: “I know it sounds kind of scary, but many legal experts have said all along said that lawsuit is nothing more than a political stunt by anti-immigrant Attorneys General and Governors”.

“The best way our community can fight back against this attack is to stay on track. If you’re eligible, continue getting ready for expanded DACA and DAPA and immediately apply when the time comes. And, very importantly, this attack does not affect 2012’s DACA or its renewal process. So if you already have DACA and are set to renew, you should do so“, keeps explaining Ortiz.

So do not feel discouraged. Continue gathering your documents and getting ready for expanded DACA and DAPA, so when this decision is appealed, you are ready to apply right away. And remember: this decision DOES NOT affect 2012’s DACA, so if you can apply or are due to renew your permit, go ahead.

Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

 

DACA Expands to Include More Applicants

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 5.53.56 AM

November 20th marked an unforgettable date: President Obama announced new executive actions on immigration, presenting 5 initiatives that will give undocumented immigrants a path to a provisional lawful presence, as well as improving existing visa programs and promoting the naturalization process.

In this post we will focus on the expansion of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which means that more young undocumented immigrants will be eligible to apply for this program without fear of deportation. Carlos Tolentino, a community leader and expert on immigration, says: “It will expand to help at least 100,000 more people”.

You can start applying for DACA -for the first time or to renew- on February 18th!

USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) gives us this basic information in their website:

WHO IS ELIGIBLE

  • Individuals with no lawful immigration status who are seeking initial or renewal DACA.

WHAT THE INITIATIVE WOULD DO

  • Extends the deferred action period and employment authorization to three years from two years, and allows you to be considered for DACA if you:
  • Entered the United States before the age of 16;
  • Have lived in the United States continuously since at least January 1, 2010, rather than the prior requirement of June 15, 2007;
  • Are of any age (removes the requirement to have been born since June 15, 1981); and
  • Meet all the other DACA guidelines.

WHEN YOU CAN START TO MAKE A REQUEST

  • February 18, 2015 (USCIS will not accept requests for expanded DACA before that date)

HOW TO MAKE A REQUEST

REMEMBER: You can apply for the expansion of DACA this Wednesday, February 18th. Start gathering all your documents and filling out the application. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact UnidosNow at 941-256-0625.

(Photography from USCIS flyer on DACA).

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