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DHS: Deportation proposal could cost $585 million

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Legislative Reform, Processing of Applications and Petitions Leave a comment

By ALICIA A. CALDWELL, Associated Press – 1 day ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration’s new plan to grant temporary work permits to many young, illegal immigrants who otherwise could be deported may cost more than $585 million and require hiring hundreds of new federal employees to process more than 1 million anticipated requests, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The Homeland Security Department plans, marked “not for distribution,” describe steps that immigrants will need to take — including a $465 paperwork fee designed to offset the program’s cost — and how the government will manage it. Illegal immigrants can request permission to stay in the country under the plan by filing a document, “Request for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” and simultaneously apply for a work permit starting Aug. 15.

Under the new program, which President Barack Obama announced last month, eligible immigrants must have arrived in the U.S. before their 16th birthday, are 30 or younger, have been living here at least five years, are in school or graduated or served in the military. They also must not have a criminal record or otherwise pose a safety threat. They can apply to stay in the country and be granted a work permit for two years, but they would not be granted citizenship.

The internal government plans obtained by the AP provide the first estimates of costs, how many immigrants were expected to participate and how long it might take for them. It was not immediately clear whether or under which circumstances any immigrants would not be required to pay the $465 paperwork fee. The plans said there would be no waivers, but Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress last week that the government would grant waivers “in very deserving cases.” She said details were still being worked out.

“We anticipate that this will be a fee-driven process,” Napolitano said.

A spokesman for the Homeland Security Department, Peter Boogaard, said the plans obtained by the AP were “preliminary documents” and the process is still being worked out. Boogaard said processing immigrant applications under the program “will not use taxpayer dollars” because of the fees that will be collected.

Fee waivers could dramatically affect the government’s share of the cost. The plans said that, depending on how many applicants don’t pay, the government could lose between $19 million and $121 million. Republican critics pounced on that.

“By lowering the fee or waiving it altogether for illegal immigrants, those who play by the rules will face delays and large backlogs as attention is diverted to illegal immigrants,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas. “American taxpayers should not be forced to bail out illegal immigrants and President Obama’s fiscally irresponsible policies.”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services estimated it could receive more than 1 million applications during the first year of the program, or more than 3,000 per day. It would cost between $467 million and $585 million to process applications in the first two years of the program, with revenues from fees paid by immigrants estimated at $484 million, according to the plans. That means the cost to the government could range from a gain of $16 million to a loss of more than $101 million.

The government estimated that as many as 890,000 immigrants in the first year would be immediately eligible to avoid deportation. The remaining 151,000 immigrants would likely be rejected as ineligible.

The plans estimated that the Homeland Security Department could need to hire more than 1,400 full-time employees, as well as contractors, to process the applications. Salaries were included in the agency’s estimates of total program costs.

Once immigrants submit their applications, it could take between two and 10 days for the Homeland Security Department to scan and file it. It could take up to four weeks longer to make an appointment for immigrants to submit their fingerprints and take photographs. A subsequent background check could take six more weeks, then three more months for the government to make its final decision before a work permit would be issued.

Napolitano said new information about the program should be made available by Aug. 1. She has said immigrants would generally not be detained by immigration authorities while their application is pending.

Alicia A. Caldwell can be reached on Twitter at www.twitter.com/acaldwellap


Number Of Unregistered Latino Voters Large Enough To Transform Red States Into Swing States

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Trends Leave a comment

Article

The day before a class action civil rights lawsuit accusing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his office of wide-scale civil rights violations went to trial in Phoenix, a handful of people stood at the corner of North 27th Avenue and West Indian School Road just off the city’s Black Canyon Freeway.

Wearing “Adios Arpaio” T-shirts, the small group staged a protest at one of the busiest intersections in mostly Latino West Phoenix, aimed at what some consider two of Arizona’s biggest problems: Arpaio and apathy.

Some signs read, “Honk If You Don’t Like Arpaio.” Others bore the words, “Register to Vote Here.” After an hour, 11 people registered to vote.

“I know that sounds tiny,” said Daria Ovide, a coordinator for the Campaign for Arizona’s Future, a union-financed group working to register Latino voters in Arizona, a key battleground state. “But believe me, it matters.”

What happens at thousands of intersections, car shows and carnivals when eligible, but unregistered Latino voters, and avid canvassers like Ovide meet, may well determine the outcome of the next presidential election. Those meetings could so dramatically reshape the political landscape, activists and analysts agree that consistently red states could become swing states or turn blue.

Right now in 10 battleground states — places where both the Obama and Romney campaigns say victory is feasible — there are 12.1 million unregistered, but potentially eligible, Latino adults, according to new data released late Thursday by the Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C., think tank. In uber-important Florida, the state’s 1.4 million unregistered, potentially eligible Latino adults represent a group of voters five times larger than Obama’s margin of victory in 2008.

“If just a portion of these potential voters do come out and vote they could swing the election,” said Philip Wolgin, an immigration policy analyst at the center. “And while I don’t think that Texas is going to become a swing state tomorrow, I also don’t think that four years ago anyone thought that Arizona would be either. Look at it now.”

In Arizona, 405,300 Latino U.S. citizens do not have voting credentials. And another 575,300 Latino permanent legal residents could become naturalized citizens, register and vote.

In 2008, John McCain carried the state by 195,404 votes.

These potential voters, according to a series of recent polls, care deeply about immigration issues like racial profiling by law enforcement and the Supreme Court’s June decision on Arizona’s SB170, “show me your papers” laws, as well as jobs, education and health care, said Clarissa Martinez, the National Council of La Raza’s director of civic engagement and immigration. The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) is a Washington, D.C.-based civil rights organization.

Having more Hispanic voters in the political system, could force action on some of the nation’s more intractable political issues, she said.

For most Central and South American immigrants, the wait for a visa that allows for legal immigration to the United States can stretch for two decades or more. Once here, immigrants may apply for legal permanent residency. Most legal permanent residents must wait three to five years to apply for citizenship. Then, after passing English-language proficiency, U.S. civics and history exams and paying an $800 fee, legal permanent residents typically wait a minimum of four to six months to be summoned to a swearing in ceremony where they become U.S. citizens.

NCLR is working with local nonprofit agencies and canvassers in states like Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, North Carolina, New York and Idaho to help those who are eligible to become naturalized citizens do so and those who can register to vote obtain credentials.

“When we talk about electoral expansion, you really are talking about sweeping changes to the nation’s political calculus, there’s no doubt,” said Martinez. “But part of the challenge is that the best resourced efforts are concentrated in election years and are associated with candidates or parties who are interested in the short-term. They want to win the next election.”

To win the next election, most campaigns focus their energy and money on reaching so-called habitual voters or reducing the number of people who turn out to vote for the opposition. Habitual voters are the share of already registered voters who vote in every election possible.

In some ways, the limited interest political parties and candidates have shown in helping people to become citizens is good, said Martinez.

Politicizing the citizenship process could become unseemly. On the other, investment in naturalization and voter registration work is desperately needed right now, she said.

In Phoenix, the “Adios Arpiao” crew gets the funding it needs from Unite Here, a hospitality workers union, and the AFL-CIO, said Ovide. The group aims to counterbalance Voter ID policies, the effects of shortened early voting periods andefforts to identify alleged non-citizens on voter rolls around the country. Opponents say these measures will make it more difficult for many older voters, minorities and low -income adults to participate. Proponents insist that the laws protect the integrity of the voting process and prevent alleged voter fraud.

The day that Arpaio’s trial began, canvasser’s wearing “Adios Arpaio” T-shirts fanned out to supermarkets, a gas station, a library and a restaurant in hopes of registering Latino voters.

That day, they registered 150, Ovide said.


Immigration Court Backlog Tool

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

This interactive link shows the nationalities in immigration proceedings, the cases pending per state, and more..

Houston has about 11,300 cases pending right now!


Department of Homeland Security’s Deferred Action Status program – Applications can be submitted starting August 15, 2012

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform, Processing of Applications and Petitions Leave a comment

NOTES FROM A RECENT WEBINAR REGARDING DEFERRED ACTION STATUS – Posted on July 21, 2012

Immigration Attorney – Ruby L. Powers

The official commencement date for the program is August 14, 2012, but the applications cannot be submitted until August 15, 2012.

 

I. PUBLIC SAFETY Concerns: 

GANGS

·         You must distinguish between Member vs. Associate

·         If Member, was it Prior or Active?

·         ICE will rely on intelligence from local gang task forces and federal databases

·         It will be very difficult to clean up record if any prior gang participation

 

PARTICIPATION IN CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES (even if no conviction). DHS will look at:

·         Admissions in Plea Agreements (can be a negative factor)

·         Admissions to a DHS officer (can also be used against applicant)

·         Admissions on applications 

·         Rap Sheet

 

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY

·         DHS will look at any unlawful behavior the applicant committed as minor. It is not yet clear what will DHS do, since juvenile offenses are not considered a conviction under the INA, but no doubt it will be a detrimental factor that the applicant will have to overcome with his other equities.

 

RISK OF DETENTION

·         DHS made it very clear that detention is a risk for any person subject to Mandatory Detention, plus others they can choose at their discretion.

II. FRAUD

·         DHS made it very clear that they will actively and aggressively pursue with criminal charges and Removal any misrepresentation or fraud on the application. As far as previous misreps (like photo-switched passports), they will go on a case-by-case basis. There will be NO waiver for false claims of USC after 1996.

III. EDUCATION

·         Applicants will be eligible as long as they are enrolled in school or a GED program at the time of application. There are other ways to be eligible for the education component.

 

IV. MISCELLANEOUS

·         DHS confirmed that there would be a form and a fee. They hope to have the form by August 1, 2012, but the date is not “set in stone.”

·         EAD fee is $380. Biometrics fee is $85. 465 TOTAL

·         Unclear so far whether they will accept I-912 Fee Waiver Request

·         DHS will apply “totality of circumstances” standard to applications. The more equities, the better.

·         Unclear whether “confidentiality” standard (like asylum and VAWA) will be honored. 


Secretary Napolitano Announces Deferred Action Process for Young People Who Are Low Enforcement Priorities

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act Leave a comment

Release Date: June 15, 2012

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact:             202-282-8010

La Secretaria Napolitano Anuncia Proceso De Acción Diferida Para Jóvenes Que Sean De Baja Prioridad Para La Aplicación De La Ley

WASHINGTON— Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.

“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Secretary Napolitano. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.”

DHS continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk, including immigrants convicted of crimes, violent criminals, felons, and repeat immigration law offenders. Today’s action further enhances the Department’s ability to focus on these priority removals.

Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred action, on a case by case basis:

  1. Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
  3. Are currently 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. Are not above the age of thirty.

Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action. Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today’s date. Deferred action requests are decided on a case-by-case basis. DHS cannot provide any assurance that all such requests will be granted. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right, immigration status, or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

While this guidance takes effect immediately, USCIS and ICE expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days. In the meantime, individuals seeking more information on the new policy should visit USCIS’s website (at www.uscis.gov), ICE’s website (atwww.ice.gov), or DHS’s website (at www.dhs.gov). Beginning Monday, individuals can also call USCIS’ hotline at             1-800-375-5283       or ICE’s hotline at             1-888-351-4024       during business hours with questions or to request more information on the forthcoming process.

For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria and have been offered an exercise of discretion as part of ICE’s ongoing case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer them deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

For more information on the Administration policy reforms to date, please see this fact sheet.

###


La Secretaria Napolitano Anuncia Proceso De Acción Diferida Para Jóvenes Que Sean De Baja Prioridad Para La Aplicación De La Ley 15 de junio, 2012

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

Contacto: Oficina de Prensa del DHS,             (202) 282-8010

WASHINGTON— La Secretaria de Seguridad Nacional, Janet Napolitano, anunció hoy que con vigencia inmediata, ciertos jóvenes que entraron en los Estados Unidos siendo niños jóvenes, que no presentan un riesgo para la seguridad nacional ni para la seguridad pública y que cumplen con varios criterios clave serán considerados para recibir alivio contra la deportación o contra el inicio del proceso de deportación. Aquéllos que demuestren que cumplen con los criterios serán elegibles para recibir la acción diferida durante un período de dos años, sujeto a renovación, y serán elegibles para solicitar la autorización de empleo.

“Las leyes de inmigración de nuestro país deben hacerse cumplir de una manera firme y sensata”, comentó la Secretaria Napolitano. “Pero no están diseñadas para hacerse cumplir ciegamente sin tener en cuenta las circunstancias individuales de cada caso. Ni están diseñadas para deportar a jóvenes productivos a países donde puede que no hayan vivido nunca o que ni siquiera hablen el idioma. En estos casos, la discreción, la cual se utiliza en tantas otras áreas, está especialmente justificada”.

El DHS continúa centrando sus recursos de aplicación de la ley en la deportación de individuos que presentan un peligro para la seguridad nacional o la seguridad pública, incluidos inmigrantes condenados por delitos, criminales violentos, delincuentes y transgresores reincidentes de la ley de inmigración. La acción de hoy mejora aún más la capacidad del Departamento para centrarse en estas deportaciones de máxima prioridad.

Bajo esta directiva, los individuos que demuestren que cumplen con los siguientes criterios serán elegibles para el ejercicio de la discreción, específicamente la acción diferida, considerado caso por caso:

1.) vino a los Estados Unidos siendo menor de dieciséis años de edad;

2.) ha residido ininterrumpidamente en los Estados Unidos durante al menos cinco años antes de la fecha de este memorándum y está presente en los Estados Unidos en la fecha de este memorándum;

3.) está asistiendo actualmente a la escuela, se ha graduado de la enseñanza secundaria, ha obtenido un certificado de desarrollo de educación general, o es un veterano que ha sido dado de alta con honores de los Guardacostas o las Fuerzas Armadas de los Estados Unidos;

4.) no ha sido condenado por un delito mayor, un delito menor significativo, múltiples delitos menores ni representa una amenaza para la seguridad nacional o la seguridad pública;

5.) no es mayor de treinta años de edad.

Sólo aquellos individuos que puedan demostrar mediante documentación verificable que cumplen con estos criterios serán elegibles para la acción diferida. Los individuos no serán elegibles si no se encuentran actualmente en los Estados Unidos y no pueden probar que han estado presentes físicamente en los Estados Unidos durante un período no inferior a 5 años inmediatamente anterior a la fecha de hoy. Las solicitudes de acción diferida se decidirán individualmente caso por caso. El DHS no puede dar ninguna garantía de que dichas solicitudes sean concedidas. El uso de la discreción procesal no otorga ningún derecho fundamental, estatus migratorio ni camino hacia la ciudadanía. Solo el Congreso, actuando a través de su autoridad legislativa, puede otorgar estos derechos.

Aunque esta guía entra en vigor inmediatamente, se espera que USCIS e ICE comiencen la implementación del proceso de solicitud en un plazo de sesenta días. Mientras tanto, los individuos que quieran más información sobre la nueva política deberán visitar la página web de USCIS (en www.uscis.gov), la página web de ICE (en www.ice.gov) o la página web del DHS (enwww.dhs.gov). Comenzando el lunes, los individuos podrán llamar también a la línea de acceso directo de USCIS (al [insert number]) o a la línea de acceso directo de ICE (al [insert number]) durante el horario de trabajo si tienen preguntas o para pedir más información sobre el proceso próximo.

A los individuos que ya estén en el proceso de deportación y se haya demostrado que cumplen con los criterios de elegibilidad y se les haya ofrecido el ejercicio de la discreción como parte de la revisión individual en curso de casos de ICE, ICE comenzará a ofrecerles inmediatamente la acción diferida durante un período de dos años, sujeto a renovación.

Para obtener más información sobre las reformas de la política de la Administración hasta la fecha, consulte esta hoja de datos.

###


Tattoo Checks Trip Up Visas

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Consular Processing, I-601 Waivers, Immigration Trends Leave a comment

Body Art Associated With Gang Symbols Derails Some Immigrants’ Green Cards

By Miriam Jordan | The Wall Street Journal – Wed, Jul 11, 2012 10:47 AM EDT

In December, Hector Villalobos traveled from Colorado to his native Mexico for an interview, part of his application for U.S. permanent residency. Mr. Villalobos expected to be gone a couple of months to complete the process.

Seven months later, U.S. consular officers haven’t allowed the 37-year-old handyman to return home to his wife and three children. The problem: tattoos—some associated with violent Mexican gangs—on Mr. Villalobos’s body.

“He likes tattoos, just like many Americans like tattoos” said Veronica, his American wife of six years, who says her husband isn’t affiliated with any criminal organization. Mr. Villalobos says he got his tattoos—some in Mexico, some in the U.S.—because he thought they were cool.

In recent years, immigration attorneys say, concern about foreign gangs entering the U.S. has prompted Washington to delay or deny green cards, or legal permanent residency, to some applicants with tattoos.
MORE


Immigration attorneys ‘bombarded’ after Obama policy announcement

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration or Notario Fraud, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform Leave a comment

“It is important that people not do anything until it is clear what the actual process is to apply,” Abdin said. “We don’t want them to fall prey to notaries or attorneys who are only after money and are not really going to be helping them.”

Abdin and other immigration attorneys urged undocumented immigrants hoping to qualify under the policy to start gathering paperwork that would prove they meet the requirements outlined by the government, such as birth certificates, passports, Texas or consular IDs, school or vaccination records.

More..


Deferred Action Process for Young People Who Are Low Enforcement Priorities

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment
Link

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) alerts eligible individuals NOT to submit a deferred action request under the Deferred Action Process for Young People memorandum issued by Secretary Napolitano on June 15. If you submit now, your application will be rejected. The Secretary’s directive gives USCIS 60 days to create a process to accept these requests and we are unable to accept requests at this time.  Please continue to check our website for updates.

Over the past three years, this Administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to transform the immigration enforcement system into one that focuses on public safety, border security and the integrity of the immigration system. As DHS continues to focus its limited enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety, including aliens convicted of crimes, with particular emphasis on violent criminals, felons, and repeat offenders, DHS will move to exercise prosecutorial discretion to ensure that enforcement resources are not expended on low priority cases, such as individuals who were brought to this country through no fault of their own as children, have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanor offenses, and meet other key criteria.

Effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States through no fault of their own as young children and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or entered into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action. Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today’s date. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

While this guidance takes effect immediately, USCIS and ICE expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days. Do not apply –  this application process is not yet available. If you apply early, your application will be rejected.  Beginning June18, 2012, individuals can call USCIS’ hotline at             1-800-375-5283       or ICE’s hotline at            1-888-351-4024       during business hours with questions or to request more information on the forthcoming process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to receive deferred action under the Department’s new directive?
Pursuant to the Secretary’s June 15, 2012 memorandum, in order to be eligible for deferred action, individuals 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 this 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.

What is deferred action?
Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. 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.

Under existing regulations, an individual who has been granted deferred action is eligible to receive employment authorization for the period of deferred action, provided he or she can demonstrate “an economic necessity for employment.” Deferred action can be terminated at any time at the agency’s discretion or renewed by the agency.

How will the new directive be implemented?
Individuals who are not in removal proceedings or who are subject to a final order of removal will need to submit a request for a review of their case and supporting evidence to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Individuals may request deferred action if they meet the eligibility criteria. In the coming weeks, USCIS will outline and announce the procedures by which individuals can engage in this process. This process is not yet in effect and requests should not be submitted at this time. Beginning June 18, individuals may call the USCIS hotline at            1-800-375-5283      , from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with questions or to request more information on the new process. The hotline offers assistance in English and Spanish. Individuals seeking more information on the new process should visit USCIS’s website (at http://www.uscis.gov).

For individuals who are in removal proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, ICE will, in the coming weeks, announce the process by which qualified individuals may request a review of their case. Additional information is available from the ICE Office of the Public Advocate at http://www.ice.gov/about/offices/enforcement-removal-operations/publicadvocate/Beginning June 18, individuals may call the ICE hotline at             1-888-351-4024      , from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with questions or to request more information on the new process.

For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria as part of ICE’s case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

Are individuals who receive deferred action pursuant to the new directive eligible for employment authorization?
Yes. Pursuant to existing regulations, individuals who receive deferred action may apply for and may obtain employment authorization from USCIS provided they can demonstrate an economic necessity for their employment. Information about employment authorization requests is available on USCIS’s website at http://www.uscis.gov/i-765.

Does the process result in permanent lawful status for beneficiaries?
No. The grant of deferred action under this new directive does not provide an individual with permanent lawful status or a pathway to obtaining permanent lawful status. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer the right to permanent lawful status.

Why will deferred actions only be granted for two years?
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.

If an individual’s period of deferred action is extended, will individuals need to re-apply for an extension of their employment authorization?
Yes. If an individual applies for and receives an extension of the period for which he or she was granted deferred action, he or she must also request an extension of his or her employment authorization.

Does this policy apply to those who are subject to a final order of removal?
Yes. An individual subject to a final order of removal who can demonstrate that he or she meets the eligibility criteria can request a review of his or her case and receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. All cases will be considered on an individualized basis.

This process is not yet in effect and requests should not be submitted at this time. In the coming weeks, USCIS will outline and announce the procedures by which individuals can engage in this process. Beginning June 18, individuals may call the USCIS hotline at            1-800-375-5283      , from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with questions or to request more information on the new process. The hotline offers assistance in English and Spanish. Individuals seeking more information on the new process should visit USCIS’s website (at http://www.uscis.gov).

How soon after USCIS receives a request to review a case will the individual receive a decision on his or her request?
USCIS will provide additional information on this issue in the coming weeks. Information will be made publicly available at http://www.uscis.gov/.

If an individual who is about to be removed by ICE believes he or she satisfies the eligibility criteria for the new process, what steps should he or she take to ensure his or her case is reviewed before removal?
Individuals who believe they can demonstrate that they satisfy the eligibility criteria and are about to be removed should immediately contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center’s hotline at            1-855-448-6903       (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at             1-888-351-4024       (staffed 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday) or by e-mail at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

If an individual who satisfies the eligibility criteria is encountered by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or ICE, will he or she be placed into removal proceedings?
This policy is intended to allow ICE and CBP to focus on priority cases. Pursuant to the direction of the Secretary of Homeland Security, for individuals who satisfy the eligibility criteria, CBP or ICE should exercise their discretion to prevent them from being apprehended, placed into removal proceedings, or removed. If individuals, including individuals in detention, believe they were placed into removal proceedings in violation of this policy, they should contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center’s hotline at             1-855-448-6903       (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at            1-888-351-4024       (staffed 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday) or by e-mail atEROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

If an individual accepted an offer of administrative closure under the case-by-case review process or if his or her case was terminated as part of the case-by-case review process, can he or she receive deferred action under the new process?
Yes. Individuals who can demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria will be eligible for deferred action even if they had accepted an offer of administrative closure or termination under the case-by-case review process. For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria as part of ICE’s case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

If an individual declined an offer of administrative closure under the case-by-case review process, can he or she receive deferred action under the new process?
Yes. Individuals who can demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria will be eligible for deferred action even if they declined an offer of administrative closure under the case-by-case review process.

If an individual’s case was reviewed as part of the case-by-case review process but he or she was not offered administrative closure, can he or she receive deferred action under the new process?
Yes. Individuals who can demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria will be eligible for deferred action even if they were not offered administrative closure following review of their case as part of the case-by-case review process.

Will DHS personnel responsible for reviewing requests for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this process receive special training?
Yes. ICE and USCIS personnel responsible for considering requests for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under the Secretary’s directive will receive special training.

Will individuals be subject to background checks before they can receive an exercise of prosecutorial discretion?
Yes. All individuals will undergo biographic and biometric background checks prior to receiving an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Individuals who have been convicted of any felony, a significant misdemeanor offense, three or more misdemeanor offenses not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety are not eligible to be considered for deferred action under the new process.

What do background checks involve?
Background checks involve checking biographic and biometric information provided by the individuals against a variety of databases maintained by DHS and other federal government agencies.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual came to the United States before the age of 16?
Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she came to the United States before the age of 16 includes, but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual has resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012?
Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she has resided in the United States for at five years immediately preceding June 15, 2012 includes, but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual was physically present in the United States as of June 15, 2012?
Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she was physically present on June 15, 2012, the date the memorandum was issued, includes, but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual is currently in school, has graduated from high school, or has obtained a general education development certificate (GED)?
Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she is currently in school, has graduated from high school, or has obtained a GED certificate includes, but is not limited to: diplomas, GED certificates, report cards, and school transcripts.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States?
Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States includes, but is not limited to: report of separation forms, military personnel records, and military health records.

What steps will USCIS and ICE take to prevent fraud in the new processes?
An individual who knowingly makes a misrepresentation to USCIS or ICE, or knowingly fails to disclose facts to USCIS or ICE, in an effort to receive deferred action or work authorization in this new process will be treated as an immigration enforcement priority to the fullest extent permitted by law, subjecting the individual to criminal prosecution and/or removal from the United States.

Are individuals with a conviction for a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanors eligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this new process?
No. Individuals who have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or three or more other misdemeanor offenses not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct are not eligible to be considered for deferred action under the new process.

What offenses qualify as a felony?
A felony is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

What offenses qualify as a “significant misdemeanor”?
A significant misdemeanor is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by no more than one year of imprisonment or even no imprisonment that involves: violence, threats, or assault, including domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary, larceny, or fraud; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; obstruction of justice or bribery; unlawful flight from arrest, prosecution, or the scene of an accident; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or unlawful possession of drugs.

How many non-significant misdemeanors constitute “multiple misdemeanors” making an individual ineligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this new process?
An individual who is not convicted of a significant misdemeanor but is convicted of three or more other misdemeanors not occurring on the same day and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct is not eligible to be considered for deferred action under this new process.

What qualifies as a national security or public safety threat?
If the background check or other information uncovered during the review of an individual’s request for deferred action indicates that the individual’s presence in the United States threatens public safety or national security, he or she will be ineligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Indicia that an individual poses such a threat include, but are not limited to, gang membership, participation in criminal activities, or participation in activities that threaten the United States.

How will ICE and USCIS handle cases involving individuals who do not satisfy the eligibility criteria under this new process but may be eligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under the June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda?
If an individual has a final order of removal and USCIS determines that he or she does not satisfy the eligibility criteria, then it will reject the individual’s request for deferred action. That individual may then request an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under the ICE June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda through any of the established channels at ICE, including through a request to the ICE Office of the Public Advocate or to the local Field Office Director. USCIS will not consider requests for review under the ICE June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda.

If an individual is currently in removal proceedings and ICE determines that he or she does not satisfy the eligibility criteria for deferred action under this process, it will then consider whether the individual is otherwise eligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under its current practices for assessing eligibility under the June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda.

Will there be supervisory review of decisions by ICE and USCIS under this process?
Yes. Both ICE and USCIS will develop protocols for supervisory review as part of their implementation of the new process.

Can individuals appeal a denial by ICE or USCIS of their request for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under the new process?
No. Individuals may not appeal a denial by ICE or USCIS of their request for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. However, ICE and USCIS will develop protocols for supervisory review as part of their implementation of the new process. Although there is no right for appeal, individuals in removal proceedings who believe their cases were not correctly handled may contact the ICE Office of the Public Advocate either by phone at             1-888-351-4024       or by e-mail atEROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

Will dependents and other immediate relatives of individuals who receive deferred action pursuant to this process also be eligible to receive deferred action?
No. 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.

If an individual’s request to USCIS for deferred action is denied, will he or she be placed in removal proceedings?
For individuals whose requests for deferred action are denied by USCIS, USCIS will apply its existing Notice to Appear guidance governing USCIS’s referral of cases to ICE and issuance of notices to appear. Under this guidance, individuals whose requests are denied under this process will be referred to ICE if they have a criminal conviction or there is a finding of fraud in their request.

Should individuals who are not in removal proceedings but believe themselves to be eligible for an exercise of deferred action under this process seek to place themselves into removal proceedings through encounters with ICE or CBP?
No. Individuals who are not in removal proceedings but believe that they satisfy the eligibility criteria should submit their request for review of their case to USCIS under the procedures that USCIS will implement.

This process is not yet in effect and requests should not be submitted at this time. Beginning June 18, individuals may call the USCIS hotline at1-800-375-5283, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with questions or to request more information on the new process. The hotline offers assistance in English and Spanish. Individuals seeking more information on the new process should visit USCIS’s website (at http://www.uscis.gov).

If I receive deferred action through this process, will I be able to travel outside the United States?
USCIS is exploring this issue and will resolve it in the coming weeks as part of its implementation plan.

Will there be any exceptions to the requirement that an individual must have resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012?
An individual must demonstrate that he or she has resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012. Brief and innocent absences undertaken for humanitarian purposes will not violate this requirement.

What should I do if I am eligible under this process and have been issued an ICE detainer following an arrest by a state or local law enforcement officer?
If you meet the eligibility criteria and have been served a detainer, you should immediately contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center’s hotline at             1-855-448-6903       (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate either through the Office’s hotline at             1-888-351-4024       (staffed 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday) or by e-mail atEROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

Does deferred action provide individuals with a path to citizenship or permanent legal status?
No. A grant of deferred action is a form of prosecutorial discretion that does not confer a path to citizenship or lawful permanent resident status. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

Why isn’t DHS allowing other individuals to request deferred action under this process?
As a general matter, young people who, through no fault of their own, were brought to this country as children, lacked the intent to violate the law and our ongoing review of pending removal cases is already offering administrative closure to many of them. However, additional measures are necessary to ensure that our enforcement resources are not expended on these low priority cases but are instead appropriately focused on people who meet our enforcement priorities.

Does this Administration remain committed to comprehensive immigration reform?
Yes. The Administration has consistently pressed for passage of comprehensive immigration reform, including the DREAM Act, because the President believes these steps are critical to building a 21st century immigration system that meets our nation’s economic and security needs.

Is passage of the DREAM Act still necessary in light of the new process?
Yes. As the President has stated, individuals who would qualify for the DREAM Act deserve certainty about their status, and this new process does not provide that certainty. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer the certainty that comes with a pathway to permanent lawful status.

How can I get more information on the new process?
Individuals seeking more information on the new process should visit ICE’s website (atwww.ice.gov), USCIS’s website (at www.uscis.gov), or DHS’s website (at www.dhs.gov). Beginning 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.

Where can I find more information about where to go for Deferred Action?

I… Who to submit a request to review my case:   Where can I get more information:
…am subject to a final order of removal. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when the application period opens USCIS website athttp://www.uscis.gov.

Beginning June 18: USCIS hotline at            1-800-375-5283      (8 am-8 pm; English & Spanish)

…have a case pending before the Executive Office for Immigration Review or a federal court. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when the process for accepting requests is announced  ICE website at:http://www.ice.gov.

Beginning June 18: ICE hotline at            1-888-351-4024      (9am – 5pm; English and Spanish)

…have never been apprehended or placed into removal proceedings. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when the application period opens USCIS website athttp://www.uscis.gov.
Beginning June 18: USCIS hotline at            1-800-375-5283      (8 am-8 pm; English & Spanish

 

 

Last updated: 06/15/2012


Skepticism, joy among illegal immigrants over Obama decision

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment
By Miranda Leitsinger, msnbc.com

While some illegal immigrants and their advocates heralded the Obama administration’s announcement Friday that it would no longer seek the deportation of most undocumented youth, others expressed skepticism, saying it was a grab for Latino votes and wouldn’t make a big difference.

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A senior administration official said in a conference call with reporters that as many as 800,000 undocumented immigrants stand to benefit from this change. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the shift represented neither immunity nor amnesty — buzzwords for conservatives who oppose illegal immigration — but instead represented an instance of “prosecutorial discretion” in which the government had re-evaluated its priorities in enforcing the law.

The announcement represented a major policy shift, and its political implications will be significant.

The shift essentially accomplishes many of the legislative intentions of the DREAM Act, an immigration reform bill that had stalled in Congress due to Republican objections. President Obama favors the legislation, while presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has said he would veto that law.


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