In recent weeks we've done some blogging about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the program similar in many ways to the DREAM Act most people are familiar with. (If you're not up to date on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, please check out THIS POST.)
An interesting component of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals which will begin to play itself out over the upcoming months deals with how qualified candidates will be made aware of the program. Some estimates say more than 1 million immigrants are eligible for Deferred Action. According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, less than 85,000 have signed up.
That disparity means there are quite a number of immigrants who are unaware they qualify for the two-year deferment. That is literally hundreds of thousands of children, teenagers and younger adults who don't have access to information that could impact their lives significantly.
A recent article by Slate provides a look at what immigration advocates are planning in order to reach out to some of those potential candidates.
For starters, modern technology like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter will be the aggressively leveraged in order to reach a group of people that is predominantly under the age of 30. Those platforms represent the communication lifeblood of young people living in America.
An immigrant advocate quoted in the story said social media sites like Facebook are "the only place (undocumented immigrants) could talk about what they're going through." Advocacy groups are therefore planning to buy Facebook ads, concentrating on parts of the country with higher immigrant populations.
But since deferred actions impacts such a wide range of immigrants - Slate mentions that 50,000+ farm works could qualify if they were enrolled in school - less-traditional means will have to be employed.
One of those is text messages. Even though undocumented immigrants aren't likely to possess traditional cell phone contracts, they are still able to take advantage of the service using pay-as-you-go cell phones. Federal law requires that recipients of text messages request the communication, so immigration advocacy sites are requiring cell phone numbers in order to gain access to information.
The article says that outreach connected to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals will be the largest such undertaking in more than 25 years. The government's ability to build trust will be critical for the success of this project.