In June, the Obama administration announced the availability of work permits and temporary legal status to undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements.
Those eligible for the permits must be younger than 30-years-old and have arrived in the United States before the age of 16. Immigrants must also have a clean criminal record and be a student, a high school graduate or have served in the military.
Mary Giovagnolli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center in Washington D. C. acknowledges that the new program is not without risks for illegal immigrants who come forward. But she says that it looks like the process itself is going to have a high degree of confidentiality.
“Any information you reveal about family members is under a cone of silence,” says Giovagnolli. Although she acknowledges that “There is the possibility that future administrations could use the information.”
Giovagnolli says that the decision to come forward must be thoughtfully considered by each individual.
“They should apply, but they should do it with care and thought and after really talking with someone they trust to make sure that their case fits.”
Giovagnolli believes that the gains in human capital that result from the new policy will be evident to Nevadas. In this state, 936 thousand young people could benefit.
"It’s the first opportunity that we've had in a very long time to show what a difference it makes when people have more certainty in their lives," says Giovagnolli.