BY COURTENAY EDELHART Californian staff writer email@example.com
Magali Vidal, 20, laughs out loud when asked where she was born -- which is the Mexican city of Tlalnepantla De Baz.
"I can't even pronounce it," she said after flashing a card with the city's name on it.
How to attend
The next local UFW Foundation Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals seminar is 6 p.m. Tuesday at East Hills Mall, 3000 Mall View Road.
Vidal has been in the United States since she was 4 years old, brought to this country by undocumented immigrants. On Saturday, she was among nearly 100 people who turned out for an informational workshop to learn about the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows certain children of undocumented immigrants to obtain work permits.
United Farm Workers Foundation is holding seminars all over Kern County to help educate people about the application process. One of the seminars was Saturday evening at Believers in Jesus Christ Church in southeast Bakersfield.
Vidal was anxious to find out how to apply, although initially she was reluctant to get excited about the chance to be able to work legally.
"I was really confused because there was a lot of talk before about the Dream Act, and then it didn't pass," she said, referring to legislation that would have provided children of undocumented immigrants an opportunity to obtain citizenship.
"Every time I would get my hopes up, and then afterward I was like, 'Oh my gosh.' So I was scared, a little bit, but I wanted to believe it was happening."
To be eligible, applicants must have arrived in the United States before the age of 16, must be 30 years old or younger, and must be able to prove they've been living here at least five years. They also can't have been convicted of any major crimes.
There is a $465 fee to apply.
Vanessa Martinez is a community outreach provider for the foundation and led Saturday's presentation.
One of the concerns that came up was driving records. Several in the audience wanted to know if getting caught driving without a license would be enough to disqualify them.
Martinez said that three such citations amount to a misdemeanor in the state of California, so three or more tickets might be a problem.
After the seminar, Martinez said she was pleased with the turnout, but hoped to get even more people at subsequent workshops.
Parents have not been reluctant to help their children apply for the program for fear of getting caught residing in the country illegally, said UFW Foundation volunteer Esther Stenger.
The parents' name and address doesn't appear anywhere on the application, Stenger said.
"As of right now, I haven't heard anyone voice any concerns about that," she said.