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For the last two months, I have presented information sessions on President Obama’s program for DREAMers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, at school, churches, and other locations.  And in private discussions, I have found that many people qualify for separate programs that provide more extensive benefits.

Just last week, for example, a man and his three kids came to my office, ages 15 (in September 2012), 14, and 8, all born outside the U.S.  I asked about their mother.  He admitted that seven years ago she came with the kids and one day disappeared leaving just a note.  The kids came home to find out they will likely never see their mom again.  They were 8, 7, and 1.  It is a heartbreaking story.  But it will have a happy ending because mom’s abandonment will qualify the kids for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.  It is a long process that will result in lawful permanent status for each child.  That is significantly better than a temporary program for only the eldest child.

Immigrants live in fear of discovery and deportation.  With President Obama’s program they can overcome their fear and seek help, and the key is to speak with an experienced immigration attorney to determine the best method of obtaining legal status.  There are other examples I have discovered in meeting with immigrants who don’t know that they may qualify for permanent status based on their conditions. Some of them are approached by a notario who can take your money and land you in jail with his or her bad advice.

No one can force you to meet with an attorney, but are you really going to risk your future without verifying your options? Think of your family and then decide.