Deferred Action for DREAMers

July 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, issued a memorandum announcing the grant of a temporary relief to people who were brought to the U.S. when they were young and who have remained here without documentation. This is called deferred action, which is a form of prosecutorial discretion that will not lead to lawful permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship. However, once granted deferred action, eligible individuals could continue to stay and also legally work in the U.S., as long as they reapply for an extension of their status every 2 years.

The Department of Homeland Security (USCIS) has published a detailed list of FAQ’s on their website, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has done the same thing on their website. Additionally, as of June 18, individuals can also call ICE’s hotline (at 1-888-351-4024) or USCIS’s hotline (at 1-800-375-5283) during business hours with questions or to request more information on the new process. The hotline offers assistance in English and in Spanish.

Various immigration organizations, including American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA), are organizing and preparing for this process and also helping to educate the public so as to avoid misinformation. AILA’s consumer protection website has a segment in Spanish explaining what the new Deferred Action initiative means and warns of the potential for scams to help promote awareness and stop notario fraud.

To be eligible, an individual must:

1. Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen;
2. Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of Secretary Janet Napolitano’s memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
3. Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
5. Not be above the age of thirty.

Individuals must also complete a background check and, for those individuals who make a request to USCIS and are not subject to a final order of removal, must be 15 years old or older.

Additional guidance from DHS is currently expected to be released as early as August 1st with instructions on how to request for deferred action.

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