HOUSTON -- The President's new immigration policy has illegal immigrants clamoring for information on how they may qualify for the deportation protection measure.
On Tuesday at Houston's Catholic Charities, immigrants lined up hours before the doors opened at 9 a.m. to attend a weekly legal clinic. Normally about 100 people attend the clinics, said Jo Ann Zuniga, director of marketing and communications. On this day, 150 people showed up. She said they also received lots of phone calls.
Catholic Charities administrators stress that the government won't issue official application instructions for another 60 days. They worry about con artists trying to sell guaranteed immigration status to unsuspecting illegal immigrants.
Edgar Torres, who came to America from El Salvador with his parents as a 6-month-old baby, said the act is only fair. He said most days he feels like, "The place that I consider home doesn't even want me here."
Under the immigration policy, qualifying illegal immigrants need to be at least 16 years old, and no older than 30, to be eligible for the protected status. They need to have been brought to the United States before they turned 16, and need to have resided in the country for at least five consecutive years before their application. Government officials also said young illegal immigrants need to be currently in school, have a high school diploma or G.E.D., or have been honorably discharged from the military to qualify.
Protection under the new immigration policy is good for two years and is renewable.
Catholic Charities Houston, located at 2900 Louisiana Street, will have another legal clinic to answer questions about the immigration policy on next Tuesday, June 26.