Voices in Focus: A Warning to Immigrants on ‘Deferred Action’ Plan

(anksampedro/Flickr via Feet in 2 Worlds)

In today’s news from New York’s ethnic and community press: warnings for undocumented immigrants seeking “deferred action” under a new plan; a Chinese-bilingual charter school in Flushing; and a Dominican food safety scare has repercussions for a Bronx-based salami company.

* Under President Barack Obama’s new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals plan, young undocumented immigrants can apply for two-year work permits that could be renewed, temporarily eliminating the threat of deportation. But many immigrants who may be eligible for the program, which goes into effect on Wednesday, have questions about what it will mean for them.

Feet in 2 Worlds‘ Aaron Leaf has a round-up of what potential applicants need to know, as well as some resources for additional help and a warning:

Valerie May and Mark Harley run May Law Group, a private immigration firm with offices in New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, representing many clients planning to apply right away on August 15th. Like Panjawani, they will walk their clients through the process after a thorough screening, including a criminal record check in every state in which a client has lived.

They do this, says May, to make sure that if you are turned down because of past convictions, you do not increase your risk of being deported. For this reason, Harley and May warn against filing the application on your own or with an organization that doesn’t have a background in immigration law.

“There are big risks,” says Harley, especially when using an unlicensed notario, usually a person who speaks an immigrant’s native language and acts as an attorney without having the necessary training. “With us,” says Harley “everything we do, our accreditation is on the line.” She says an unlicensed notario might file an application without doing a thorough screening, putting applicants at risk.

* A Chinese-bilingual charter school is scheduled to open in Flushing, Queens in 2013, the Korea Daily reported in the excerpt translated below:

The Whole Elephant Institute, a Chinese culture nonprofit, submitted an application to establish a charter school. The application included the location of the school, at 144 Street and Bayside Avenue, and curriculum for Kindergarten to 5th grade.

The school’s capacity will be 120 students in the first year, and will be increased by 400 over five years.

Lotus King Weiss, the school’s founder, said children will learn life fundamentals by studying Chinese culture and tradition, including extra-curricular activities such as martial arts and calligraphy.

* A food scare in the Dominican Republic has a local business owner losing sleep, Quisqueya Internacional reported. After a recent study found that the salamis produced in the Dominican Republic had too little protein and too much fecal coliform bacteria and carcinogenic nitrites, some American consumers have avoided products from the Hispanic-style sausage maker, Cibao Meat Products, according to the blog. The company’s brand manager, Julio Gaspar Isidor, told the blog that while the company’s ownership is Dominican, the factory is located in the Bronx and its products conform to United States Department of Agriculture standards.