Tennessee Undocumented Immigrants Line Up for Legal Status

Jonny Garcia graduated from McGavock High School in Nashville. Image courtesy Jonny Garcia.

Immigration attorneys across the country and in Nashville say their offices are overflowing with young undocumented aliens. Starting Wednesday, immigrants who were brought across the border by their parents can apply for temporary legal status.

Applying for this two-year work permit requires a paper trail. Young undocumented immigrants have to show they’ve stayed out of legal trouble, lived in the U.S. continuously and graduated or gotten a GED.

Jonny Garcia spent the day at McGavock High School collecting his records. The eighteen-year-old starts college at Western Kentucky University next week. Garcia says he’s lived in fear of deportation if he ever gets pulled over.

“I mean, I have family where I’m from – you know. But this is my home. I’d hate to be taken away from it.”

Garcia says he’s nervous about applying for the Obama Administration’s program named Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. For one, it’s not cheap – $465. And Garcia is weighing whether he needs help from an attorney.

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