Thanks to reader GG for the link to CNN's interview with the DHS Secretary.
Here are the highlights:
On the process for applying -
“There are those who are in removal proceedings now. We will either find them or we're asking them to help us self-identify. There will be hot lines and web sites up over the next couple of days.
And then there are those who haven't been in touch with the immigration system, but they've been living under a cloud. And within 60 days they will be able to go to a CIS office.
And if they meet the criteria -- they're going to have to demonstrate they meet the criteria, they can be given a grant of deferred action.”
BLITZER: One final question, is the Department of Homeland Security, ICE, Immigrations Customs Enforcement, are you ready for what is about to happen because presumably you're going to be swamped with phone calls, appearances, these young people want legal status.
NAPOLITANO: You know, we're cautioning people, we need to take it, you know, kind of incrementally. Instructions have gone out to ICE and CBP today that they're not to put these young people into removal proceedings.
We will begin the process over the next weeks of identifying those already in removal or whoever received a final order of removal to consider them for deferred action.
And there will be phone numbers and a public advocate that these individuals can actually call beginning next week if they think they qualify.
And then for those who haven't been in the immigration system yet, they haven't been put into any kind of a proceeding, but they want to come forward, that will have to be to a CIS office.
And that will be within 60 days. And, again, we are posting on dhs.gov, initial information, initial frequently asked questions. But we're going to have to work together with the community, with the country, to do a smooth implementation as possible.
On risking getting parents caught up in immigration proceedings by applying –
“BLITZER: What about the parents of these children? The children come forward now, they identify themselves. Should the parents be concerned that potentially they could be deported? They would now be identified as illegal immigrants.
NAPOLITANO: No. We are not going to do that. We have internally set it up so that the parents are not referred for immigration enforcement if the young person comes in for deferred action. However, the parents are not qualified for deferred action. This is for the young people who meet the criteria that we've set forth.”
On eligibility for federal benefits and on getting employment authorization:
“BLITZER: What social services would these young people be qualified for? Will they be qualified to receive Medicaid benefits, food stamps, school vouchers, stuff like that?
NAPOLITANO: No. No. They won't be -- again, there's deferred action now given in certain cases. And they don't qualify for those types of benefits. The one thing they may qualify for is a work authorization card if they can demonstrate economic necessity.”
So good news for people worried about putting parents in the cross hairs of immigration by applying for deferred action. Also, the new details on the process are interesting. Monday, there's a call hosted by the DHS entities administering the program where more details are to be announced. I'll be participating and will report.