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There are many (including me!) who are excited for the announcement by President Obama tonight about executive action on immigration. Although several news networks are reporting more details, nothing is official yet. The best way to know the details of the program is to see the announcement at 8:00 pm when they will transmit on several TV stations and online. While we await the announcement many want to know what they can do to prepare.

We have prepared a list of 5 things you SHOULD do and 5 things NOT to do to prepare:

YOU SHOULD:
1) Stay informed by reliable news networks and watch the president’s announcement tonight at 8:00 pm.

2) Begin to collect and organize your personal documents-if you think that maybe you will be able to benefit under the program announced by the President, you should take steps to secure your important documents.

Examples of important documents are records of school, work and tax records, medical records, rental agreement, mortgage, copies of bills for gas, electricity, water, telephone. Save any document that has your name, date, and shows your presence here–mail that has come over the years, information from purchase or money transfers, or other personal records.

3) Start saving money-we do not know what would be the fee with immigration services to apply for benefits-but we know that there will be a cost. Start saving money to be prepared!

4) Obtain identification-if you do not have a photo ID– such as a passport from your country of origin or a consular identification (e.g. a Matricula for Mexicans) you must take steps to obtain one. Based on experience not having a photo ID can delay any immigration process.

5) Start to organize information in your own mind–making a list of important dates (like when you arrived, when you left the country, dates you’ve had contact with immigration, etc.) and a list of addresses where you have lived. We do not know exactly what they will ask in the application for experience often these questions are the hardest to answer for clients. If you think you will need to talk to friends or family to get this information can begin to gather this information.

DO NOT:

1) Put your trust anyone who says that has contact with immigration officials and can begin the process now. Nobody knows exactly what the president will say tonight, and after tonight we will not yet have the details of how and when you can apply. Do not pay anyone before the program details are clear.

2) Arrange anything with anyone who is a “notary” and not an attorney or agent approved by immigration. We have seen many sad cases where the work of someone who does not know all the risks takes steps that result in bad consequences for the client that are difficult to fix.

3) Put yourself in situations that could result in arrest. Through reports and experience we know that you will see requirements connected with your criminal record. Try not to jeopardize that if you can help!

4) Lying or providing false documents to immigration or your lawyer-that can cause more problems than it solves. Please openly discuss with your lawyer about any criminal or immigration problem that you had BEFORE starting any process with immigration because this information is important to resolve your situation.

5) Do NOT hesitate to contact us with your questions! We are forever grateful to serve the Hispanic community. Call us at 317-574-3090.