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Four Years Into DACA, Focus Is On Asian Youth

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Four Years After DACA, Focus Is On Asian Youth
Four Years After Daca, Focus Is On Asian Youth GUEST: Erwin Mendoza, spokesperson, Alliance San Diego

I'm Maureen Cavanaugh and is Monday, August 15. Our top story on midday is Obama's childhood arrivals program is now in its fourth year. The program allows undocumented teenagers and young adults to apply for a two-year deferral from deportation which can be renewed. A new report shows California has the highest number of people eligible but ranks 11th in the nation an application rate. Today and advocacy group is launching a campaign to close that crap and it is targeting Asian youth. I spoke with Erwin Mendoza the spokesman one of the leading organizations behind the ready now San Diego campaign. Welcome to the program. Remind us why DACA allows people to too. Can they work your legally ? Would you have DACA and allows you to have a work permit which allow someone to work legally here in the United States. And go to school? Correct. Go to school, get a drivers license here in California, it offers better opportunities for young people qualified for different actions. Most in the immigrants who have applied for DACA are from Mexico, Central and South America up. There have been few from Asian countries. Why is that? There are roughly 3000 Asian immigrants here in San Diego. What we're doing is outreaching to these populations to get them to apply for different action in DACA Why has there been this hesitancy among undocumented Asians? I think there were two parts. A stigma amongst the community of revealing yourself and saying I am here without papers. The second part is the fear of coming out to the federal government and saying that I am here without papers. What is affecting the Asian population, we want them to come forward and help them better the lives with the ready now San Diego campaign. What is that? What are you going to do to try to boost these numbers? Right now we have a full-time staff member dedicated to Asian Pacific Islander outreach. That person is making phone calls and taking meetings with different leaders in the communities. We are talking to at the media to help us amplify Korean and Filipino and Chinese populations. How do you pushback on the concerns that people from Korea or the Philippines might have about applying for this program? Speak make --. We are telling them it is okay to step forward. We want them to know about the programs and there are relief programs to help them come forward and better their lives through the programs of DACA and other relief options took A lot of people who have applied have said that it has really improve their lives. It has broadened up their lives so that they feel like they are a part of the community. Happy for that as well? Yes. Working with the Latino youth we are hearing great stories that they are going to college, they are getting better paying jobs, they are comfortable to drive around from .8 to point B. This is a great opportunity for Asian youth to take advantage of this program so they can have the same opportunities that they Latino youth are taking advantage of. This is the fourth year of DACA which was initiated by the Obama administration. What will happen when the president leaves office? We knew that DACA would be a temporary program. It is dependent on the president. It is up to us to hold our leaders in Congress accountable for affecting an efficient reform. The president has done all he can so it is up to us to push forward on immigration reform. Donald Trump gave a speech on terrorism and immigration. Is there any chance that DACA would be continued under a Trump presidency ? We understand that in any election, it is still about supporting the immigration reform in Congress. That provides a permanent solution. Whomever is president in this upcoming election, it is still up to Congress on how they act on immigration reform. So what you're trying to do is instead of putting your efforts on continuing this particular program, is to try to get Congress to move towards a comprehensive immigration reform. Right. In 2012 DACA happened in an election year. Is getting them to pass that immigration reform then people will not have to worry about the candidates speaking about various relief and passing other not passing it. Do you think the uncertainty about DACA is may be stopping some people from applying? We recognize that fear but we want to outreach to those populations about getting to apply to DACA and especially the Asian Pacific Islander populations . We are looking at 25% and that is over the last four years. It is about reaching out to those populations and having them step forward to apply to DACA. I've been speaking with Erwin Mendoza at the spokes one from one of the leading organizations behind the ready now San Diego campaign. Alliance is sponsoring a forum on Tuesday, August 30 from 6 to 8 PM at the Encinitas branch library.

Four years after President Barack Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, a local community advocacy group is launching a campaign to enroll Asian youth.

DACA allows certain young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children to apply for a two-year deferral from deportation. The program also makes them eligible for a work permit.

According to Alliance San Diego, the Asian Pacific Islanders have the lowest rates of enrollment.

Spokesman Erwin Mendoza said more than 80 percent of eligible Mexican immigrants in the U.S. have applied for the program, but only 20 percent of Koreans and Filipinos have done so.

"There's a definite stigma among the Asian community of revealing yourself and saying 'I am here without papers,' so part of that is what is affecting the Asian population," Mendoza said. "So we want them to come forward and help them better their lives."

About 27,000 people are eligible for DACA in San Diego County, including 3,000 Asian immigrants.