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Forum for immigrants seeking to stay in U.S.

Community groups are offering informational workshops on Monday in the Village of Hempstead for young undocumented immigrants seeking to stay legally in the U.S. under a “deferred action” program announced last month by President Obama.

One of the workshops is organized by the Central American Refugee Center, an immigrant-advocacy group also known as CARECEN, and the other is a joint effort by the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association and the village government.

Mayor Wayne J. Hall, Sr., said he welcomed the sessions as a service to the immigrant population.

“I personally know people who have kids who graduated from high school and they are concerned about moving on” but lack documentation, Hall said. “It’s only appropriate that we guide them.”

The deferred action program, as described by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, will allow immigrants under 31 who were brought illegally to the U.S. under the age of 16 to stay legally in the country for a period of two years that could be renewed at a later date.

But those immigrants need to prepare to show proof of identity and to document their stay in the country.

“We are going to be talking about what people should begin to do to get ready,” said Patrick Young, CARECEN’s program director.

The workshops will also caution immigrants about fraudsters offering them documentation for hefty fees, especially since the federal government has not yet started accepting applications.

“We are going to give the immigrant community an overview of the new executive order,” said Dave Mejías, president of the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association.

The CARECEN workshop starts at 5 p.m. at 91 N. Franklin St. in Room 208. The joint workshop by the Village of Hempstead and the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Hempstead Public Library, 115 Nichols Court.

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