SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Bay Area immigration experts still have plenty of unanswered questions about President Barack Obama’s new policy, which defers deportation to some young illegal immigrants.

On Friday, Mr. Obama announced that illegal immigrants under 30 could avoid deportation if they can prove they were brought to the U.S. before they turned 16. They must also meet several other requirements, which include having no criminal history. The order would defer deportations for two years.

Immigrants’ rights organizations, such as the San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Educational Network, aren’t exactly sure how the president’s plan to let undocumented young people stay in the country will work.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

So far, attorneys like Reena Arya are warning immigrants to get expert advice and to proceed with caution.

Arya said, “The Immigration Service hasn’t yet come out with policy directives or instructions on how to apply for deferred action.”

27-year-old Laura Melgarejo received her B.A. from San Francisco State University and came here from Mexico when she was 15. She said many of her friends are taking a wait-and-see-attitude.

“A lot of our students that know they are eligible are hoping to apply after the November election just because they want to be cautious about it,” Melgarejo said.

The legal network urges youngsters like Melgarejo to beware of con artists offering to help them figure out the new system, which she hopes will finally let her participate more fully in society.

“Having a driver’s license, being able to apply for a credit card. Things like that where we have so many limitations as undocumented students,” she said, explaining her situation. Melgarejo said she is now working towards earning her master’s degree.

Laura Sanchez, also with the immigration network, said the president’s order is supposed to take effect within 60 days.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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