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RAICES Steps Up Immigration Information

Mohammad Abdollahi


Hundreds of people in San Antonio and South Texas are expected to have questions about what to do next, now that President Obama has laid out his immigration plan.

Texas Public Radio’s Eileen Pace reports a local organization has been expanding its services in the wake of the president’s speech a little over a week ago:

Jonathan Ryan, Director of The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services – or RAICES – says RAICES has been answering questions on Spanish-language telethons where attorneys spent three days last week fielding phone calls.

"The first group - the DACA candidates - will be able to apply under this new program beginning in February, so three months from now," Ryan said. "The second group - the parents of U.S. citizens and residents who will be applying under the program called DAPA - those applications are going to be received starting in May."

And, they’re helping people get their paperwork together, which Ryan says is an ironic task.

"The federal government is now asking these people who have spent the better part of their time trying to stay under the radar to now produce proof of their physical presence in the United States," he said. 

Ryan says applicants will need to show utility bills, medical records, and records of federal tax payments to demonstrate a five-year history in the U.S.

RAICES is most concerned about fraud. Ryan says immigrants who’ve lived in the shadows are most vulnerable to schemes that promise a quick path to deportation immunity. The RIACES website has a questionnaire that helps guide people to real legal advice, which is sometimes provided at a lower cost through the organization.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.