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Legal forum for immigrants set for Friday

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Submitted to the Optic

New Mexico Highlands University will host a Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals legal forum for immigrants from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. today (Friday).

The free legal forum will be in Douglas Hall, 805 University Ave.

Allegra Love, a Santa Fe attorney and immigration expert, will present an overview about DACA and who qualifies.

Love will also help participants individually with legal advice, a case review, preparing documents, and filling out paperwork. She is providing the service free of charge.

There will be Spanish translators on hand for the forum.

President Obama issued an executive order for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in June, 2012. The order eliminates the possibility of deportation for those immigrants who qualify, and successfully complete the DACA application process.

In general, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applies to young people who entered the country with their family as an undocumented immigrant before the age of 16, are at least 15 now, either graduated from high school or obtained a GED, have no criminal record, and have at least five years of continuous residency in the United States.

The student organization MEChA de New Mexico Highlands University is sponsoring the forum. MEChA stands for Movimiento de Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztaln. New Mexico Dreamers in Action is co-sponsoring the forum.

“It’s always better to be educated and aware of your rights,” said Elizabeth Gomez, a MEChA member who is helping organize the forum. “There are so many misconceptions about DACA. We especially want to encourage community members to attend the forum.”

Gomez, a 27-year-old senior who is a double major in media arts and Spanish, said those with questions about the forum may call 303-257-3058.

For detailed information about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, go to www.uscis.gov.