Should DREAMers wait for CIR or file for DACA

When I noticed the pathetically small number of DACA applications by the end of five months in January 2013, I hypothesized that DREAMers were saving their $465 for DACA and were simply waiting for Comprehensive Immigration Reform to pass.  I had addressed this issue in November 2012 as well whether DREAMers should keep applying for DACA or wait out for CIR and my answer was that unless you have a pressing financial situation that you can't come up with the money, you should apply for Deferred Action for Child Arrivals because the shorter is the time period that you are out under lawful status, the better it is.

Now that the Obama Amnesty is a reality more than ever before, it is tempting to wait.  After all if you have been undocumented for so long, what difference a few more months make?  After all you can save almost $500.  Indeed, these are serious arguments to wait and see, but here are other points to consider:

  1. Comprehensive Immigration Reform is a contentious issue and considering the level of opposition among some groups, there is a fairly high probability that it will simply die in Congress.  If that were to happen, you will need to file for DACA while many other DREAMers are doing the same.  At that point, expect massive delays in approvals.
  2. It is tempting to convince yourself that politicians are working for you and an amnesty will be a reality soon.  The reality is that politicians work only for themselves; they don't care about the party or even the American people.  The last thing on their minds is concerns of illegals.  Each and every politician is playing a game and an amnesty is only a bi-product of that game, not the goal.
  3. While DREAMers will get a green card under the amnesty, assuming the bill is passed in 2013, by the time USCIS starts accepting applications, it could very well be summer of 2014.  The first set of approvals may not come until early 2015.  Till that time, you will legally not be able to work.  While the number of DACA applications was much lower than anticipated, and unless the actual number of DREAMers is smaller than estimated, chances are that if CIR were to pass and permanent resident cards are being handed out, there will be a surge in applications that there could be massive delays.  Even some DACA applicants have experienced unusual delays in their approvals.
  4. Deportation will continue to be a priority of Obama Administration while all this is going on because this is a central feature of the reform and it is the only way to build public opinion in favor.  Without a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) approval in your hand, you can be deported at any time with no recourse.