Deferred Action Gives Hope to Dreamers

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    In a move that took the nation by surprise, U.S. Secretary Janet Napolitano announced on Friday, June 15 new actions the Obama administration will take to mend the nation’s immigration policy, specifically to make it more fair and just for young people. In a press statement made by the President in the Rose Garden, Obama asked the citizens of our nation to put themselves in the shoes of the young people who have studied hard, worked hard, and led law-abiding lives only to face the threat of deportation for being brought here undocumented by their parents, something that was completely out of their control as children.

    The new policy is intended to put these fears at ease by granting those who meet the eligibility criteria deferred action. Deferred action means that even though the individual is undocumented and subject to deportation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agrees to defer any actions to remove them. Deferred action does not confer lawful status upon an individual. However, the individual will be entitled to remain lawfully in the U.S. for increments of two years and obtain employment authorization from the government that entitles him to legally work in the U.S. for that period if he proves “an economic necessity for employment.” Upon the termination of the two-year period, the individual will have to request an extension of his or her employment authorization.

    To qualify for deferred action, individuals must satisfy the following criteria:

    • Have arrived in the U.S. when they were under the age of sixteen;

    • Have continuously resided in the U.S. for at least five years prior to June 15, 2012 and have been present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012;

    • Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have a GED, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces;

    • Not have been convicted of a felony offense, a “significant misdemeanor offense,” three or more non-significant misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and

    • Have been under thirty-one years old on June 15, 2012.

    Individuals must also complete background and biometric checks.

    If you think you are interested in applying for deferred action, here are some things to keep in mind:

    1. Deferred action is not amnesty nor is it immunity. It also does not create a path to citizenship or lawful permanent resident status.

    2. Deferred action does not confer lawful status upon an individual. In addition, although an alien granted deferred action will not be considered to be accruing unlawful presence in the United States during the period deferred action is in effect, deferred action does not absolve individuals of any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence.

    3. Deferred action can be terminated at any time at the agency’s discretion or renewed by the agency.

    4. Grants of deferred action will be issued in increments of two years. At the expiration of the two-year period, the grant of deferred action can be renewed, pending a review of the individual case.

    5. If ICE or USCIS denies a request for deferred action, individuals may not appeal the denial.

    6. Dependents and other immediate relatives of individuals who receive deferred action will not be eligible to received action. The new process is available only to those who satisfy the eligibility criteria. As a result, the immediate relatives, including dependents, of individuals who receive deferred action pursuant to this process are not eligible to apply for deferred action as part of this process unless they independently satisfy the eligibility criteria.

    7. Deferral action will not make a student eligible for federal financial aid. Certain states offer financial aid without regard to immigration status but this is on a state-by-state basis.

    8. Deferred action will not make you eligible to join the U.S. military.

    9. Deferred action is not a law. It is a policy enacted by the Democratic Executive Branch. This means that if a new president were to take office, he or she could easily revoke the policy. DHS would have biographical information on applicants for deferred action. However, it is unlikely that ICE would allocate many resources to searching for DREAMers.

    Please note that you cannot apply for deferred action at this time since USCIS is not yet accepting applications. The application process should be finalized by August 14, 2012. If you are NOT in removal proceedings, DO NOT apply for deferred action at this time and DO NOT turn yourself in. Those currently in removal proceedings will be offered deferred action by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).


    Please, be also careful of con artists and “notarios.” DO NOT give money to anyone promising to get you legal status. Contact a professional immigration lawyer if you have any concerns or questions regarding the new deferred action policy or contact USCIS for more information regarding the policy at their hotline available in English and Spanish at (1-800) 375-5283. In addition, our dedicated and experienced lawyers at US Law Group would be more than happy to give you a free consultation. You can reach us by phone at (847) 297 – 0008 or visit our offices at 1247 N. Milwaukee Ave., Suite 302, Glenview, IL 60025.

    If you like would to read more on the deferred action, please consult the links attached at the bottom of this page.


    What Can You Do Now?

    If you believe you are eligible for deferred action, there are some steps you can take before the process is finalized in August.

    A. Background check. Do a background check on yourself. It is important for you and your legal representative to be aware of any and all cases of arrests and convictions. Visit the FBI Criminal Background Check to request a copy of your criminal history record. You should not apply for deferred action without doing a background check even if there is a small chance that you have any sort of criminal record. DHS has yet to make clear what crimes constitute a “significant misdemeanor offense” or “non-significant misdemeanors.” This could be anything involving violence such as assault and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs to driving without a license. Gang membership and participation in criminal activities could also be used to disqualify someone by falling under a “public safety” threat.


    B. Copy relevant documents. Collect any documents that can prove you entered the United States as a child under sixteen and that you have remained continuous in the U.S. between June 15, 2007 and June 15, 2012. These include but are not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records. Anything from immunization records to report cards can be used as evidence.

    C. Keep yourself informed. Consult a professional lawyer or attend a community education forum in your area to learn more information.

    Helpful Links:

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