Hundreds of immigrants still lining up for deportation reprieve
Young illegal immigrants are lining up in Los Angeles again Thursday for help applying for a new federal program that may help them defer deportation.
Jorge-Mario Cabrera of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles said several hundred young people have come to the coalition’s offices Thursday for help and information about the program, which was launched Wednesday. It would allow those who meet certain criteria to defer deportation and work legally in the U.S.
Cabrera said the focus for the group Thursday is on providing information and orientation sessions. Many of those who lined up outside the coalition’s office Wednesday -- among thousands who did so at similar facilities around the nation -- did not have enough documentation to have their applications processed, he said.
Among the program’s requirements, applicants must be under the age of 31, have arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 and have lived continuously in the country for the last five years.
Cabrera, whose office is on West 3rd Street in Westlake, said he was especially moved by a young brother and sister, both farm workers and both in their 20s, who arrived to ask about the program Thursday.
"They said they finally can think about doing something else," he said. "They’re excited about what this may mean for them."
Although Cabrera said some were nervous Wednesday about publicly identifying themselves as illegal immigrants, he said the mood was upbeat.
"Everything went amazingly smoothly, given that the crowd was probably five times more than we expected," he said.
-- Rebecca Trounson