GLENDALE, California - It’s a new year filled with new hope for 23-year-old Gino Asinas.
Just before Christmas, the college student, who found out three years ago that he was undocumented, got his work permit and identification card under the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
It allows him to stay legally in the US after his parents work visas had expired several years ago.
“I feel like I’m going to be the 'man' in the family and I just want to be responsible and honestly I just want to make my family happy.”
Immigration statistics show some 355,000 have applied for the program, with about a third of them approved. However as of mid-November only some 2,600 applicants are Filipino.
“If you just be patient and keep doing what you’re doing, you feel free this is life and it’s progress. Don’t give up,” he said.
Asinas wasted no time, applying as soon as the program became available in August of last year. It took less than three months to get approval.
The rest of his family continues to try to fix their own status. Asinas, who has worked under the table at a local church, is now hoping to get his driver’s license soon and eventually work part time, a difficult task with a down economy.
“It’s been hard lately, I tried applying online, I tried going around the whole city, the whole Glendale mall, and it’s really hard work too. You just have to be patient. I’m waiting on calls now,” he explained.
With the new year beginning, new laws benefiting "dreamers" have also taken effect. Asinas, who’s interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement, has applied for the California Dream Act, which would allow dreamers access to college scholarships.