Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

APALC clients among first to get approval for deferred action status

Two undocumented immigrants who sought legal help at APALC to apply for deferred action status are among the first immigrants nationwide whose applications have been approved.

A recent New York Times article reported that approximately 29 applications across the nation have been approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – which allows certain young undocumented immigrants to apply for work authorization and be safe from deportation for a period of two years -- since the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applications on August 15, 2012.

Two of those 29 applicants who successfully were granted approvals came to APALC.

“I attribute a lot of my success with applying for deferred action to APALC. I was relieved that I had experienced lawyers helping me put together my packet and representing me in case something went wrong. I felt really confident when my packet was shipped; I don't think I would have felt the same way if I had sent it myself. My lawyers did a great job explaining what evidence I needed to present and how the process will happen,” said one of the clients, who wished to remain anonymous. “As for getting approved for DACA, it's great to have some sort of relief for the next two years. This is opening new doors for me, and that's the most exciting part. I can breathe easier at least for now, but I'm still anxious for a more permanent form of immigration reform.”

The Migration Policy Institute estimates that approximately 1.76 million young immigrants are potentially eligible for this deferred action policy. One out of 10 DREAM-eligible students is of Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI) descent.

On August 9, 2012, APALC opened its doors to help eligible applicants prepare their deferred action applications. Since then, APALC has assisted over 800 DREAMers via national in-language hotlines, and provided free full legal representation for approximately 150 applicants. APALC also provided online information to thousands of youth, fielded more than 3,400 calls from across the nation.

“With APALC’s extensive language capacity, we also are one of the only organizations nationwide that can be a full resource to AAPI DREAMers and their families,” said APALC Direct Services Director Anthony Roh.

“We felt that it was critical to provide free legal representation throughout the application process since there were so many unknowns. We are pleased to have provided the advocacy necessary to obtain approvals for our clients,” Roh added. “We hope other DREAMers come to us for free legal assistance.”

For undocumented youth who need free legal help, APALC is hosting weekly workshops to assist individuals with completing their applications. APALC also is providing free direct representation for complex cases.

To schedule an appointment, please call one of the following in-language hotlines:

  • Chinese (Mandarin & Cantonese): 800-520-2356
  • Khmer: 800-867-3126
  • Korean: 800-867-3640
  • Thai: 800-914-9583
  • Vietnamese: 800-267-7395
  • English/Tagalog/Spanish: 888-349-9695

Or email and visit our website:

For undocumented Asian American youth interested in connecting to other AAPI DREAMers, contact APALC Immigrant Rights Consultant Anthony Ng at


Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI)
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday - Friday

For more information or to apply to DRAI, please call: 

Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese)  (213) 241-8872
Khmer  (213) 241-8877
Korean  (213) 241-8873
Tagalog  (213) 241-8874
Thai  (213) 241-8875
Vietnamese  (213) 241-8876
English/Other, Non-Spanish  (213) 241-8880
Spanish/English** (CARECEN)  (213) 315-2659
Spanish/English** (CHIRLA)  (213) 201-8700
 (213) 395-9547

*This list will continue to expand.
** Spanish assistance available through CARECEN & CHIRLA.
***We are experiencing heavier call volume than usual. We highly encourage you to call your native language phone line, the wait time may be shorter. 

Our mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.