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Young Immigrant Work Permit Application

Question: I entered the U.S. from Guatemala at age 15. My mother who brought me was afraid to send me to school for fear of discovery. We first moved in with friends of my mothers, but we have no documentary proof I entered before I was 16. We entered the U.S. through Mexico without visas.

Answer: Many illegal entrants to the U.S. are not aware that our law requires children of age 15 to enroll in school regardless of their immigration status. Unfortunately, your mother didn’t realize that when she brought you here, the high school would not have reported you to Immigration. Many young immigrants are in the same position as you.

If we were to represent you, we would still apply under the President’s deferred action program (the Dream Act) which has been estimated to begin on or about August 15th, 2012. In the absence of documentation, we would probably need 2 or 3 witnesses who are U.S. citizens or residents who could confirm you were here before you were sixteen. We would submit along with the affidavits of witnesses, such records as church attendance, doctor’s letter relating to a visit, possibly tenants who saw you when you were under sixteen. If we are retained, we would help you in preparing your proof.

Since over a million applications are expected, there will likely be a fee to register and to apply for permission to work. Probably fingerprint appointments would take 4 weeks after filing to be scheduled. The background check would probably take another six weeks and then another six weeks for the government to make a decision and to be issued a work permit. The Immigration Service has assured applicants they will not be arrested during this process.

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