Deferred Action For Dreamers
Overview: Recently, the Obama Administration indicated that the government would begin offering Deferred Action to “Dreamers” who meet certain requirements. As the announcement is new, not all of the requirements and/or processes have been finalized. Until more details become available, many immigration lawyers are suggesting that many possible applicants should wait before applying. In fact, many applicants cannot yet apply.
If you think you are eligible, please speak with an immigration lawyer before submitting any applications.
Deferred Action Described: Deferred Action is a status that can be conveyed upon qualifying individuals by the government. The status protects an individual from deportation from the United States and offers the opportunity to obtain work authorization. However, the status does not provide a path to permanent residency. Further, the status is only valid for two years (although it is currently thought that Dreamer Deferred Action may be renewable).
General Requirements: The government has not provided all of the details about eligibility. However, the following are the general requirements:
- Be 15-30 years old, and have entered before age 16
- Have been present in the U.S. for 5 years as of June 15, 2012
- Have maintained continuous residence
- Have not been convicted of one serious crime or multiple minor crimes
- Be currently enrolled in high school, graduated or have a GED, or have enlisted in the military
Process: There are two types of individuals who will be eligible for this Deferred Action – individuals currently in Removal Proceedings (aka Deportation Proceedings) and individuals not in Removal Proceedings.
For those individuals currently in removal proceedings, Deferred Action can be applied for through the Immigration Court Process.
For those individuals not currently in removal proceedings, the government has not yet announced the formal procedure for applying. It is expected that the process will be announced in August. Before the process is announced, nothing should be submitted to the USCIS.
Concerns: There are numerous concerns present with the Deferred Action program. The following are some of the concerns:
- There is no guarantee that the next administration will continue the program.
- The program does not provide a path to permanent residency in the United States.
- There is no indication yet of what will happen when someone ages out (turns 31).
- What happens to family members who do not qualify?
- What happens if a deferred action application is rejected?
Suggestions: For the reasons above, plus other, more specific reasons, many immigration lawyers are suggesting that would be applicants wait before applying. Some immigration lawyers are suggesting using “extreme caution.”
All would be applicants should speak to an immigration attorney before having anyone submit an application.