For the first time, teens and young adults brought to the United States illegally before they were 15 years old, can now obtain documentation that will make it safe for them to apply for work registration papers, a driver’s license, social security card and other official items. The policy went into effect on Wednesday.

While this may seem like a story that will play out mostly in the metropolitan area’s larger cities, Montclair immigration attorney Rosa H. Soy, was surprised by the number of young people from suburban Essex County and other nearby towns, who contacted her office in the past few weeks seeking assistance and advice about the change.

“I was surprised to see a larger population of kids than I thought would be (affected by this) in our local area. I’m just one small private practice, but in speaking with colleagues around the area, they are seeing the same thing. And a lot of these kids are honor students, needing to apply for scholarships and get jobs, so this will benefit the whole community,” Soy said. She noted, and DreamActivist explains that this is only a temporary measure, not a guaranteed path to citizenship, nor is it the full DREAM Act that was previously proposed and shot down.

And there are rules and criteria which must be met. According to, applicants “must be 30 or younger, pay a $465 fee, and provide proof of identity and eligibility. They must prove they arrived in the U.S. before they turned 16, have been here at least five years, and are in school, graduated or served in the military.”