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Benefits of Deferred Action – Thoughts from the week of August 15, 2012

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

On the afternoon of June 15, 2012, we had heard a very exciting announcement. On June 16, 2012, I had my 31st birthday which is great because that is the age cut off for deferred action so I can remember that date/age easily.  We then tried to get ready for USCIS’s program, 60 days later. We started pre-screening potential clients and telling them to start collecting documents to prove entry, continuous residence, no criminal history, etc.

Now that the forms were provided on August 14th and the program started on Wednesday, August 15, 2012, the firm has been very busy, like most other immigration firms.  But what I am the most excited about, is that often in these consultations, I find that people qualify for consular processing/waivers and would benefit from the provisional waiver rule which has been promised to be available by the end of 2012 or qualify for marriage-based adjustment and could have their green card in about 3 months if they just applied in country.

I explain to potential clients that Deferred Action is NOT a legal status and should not be PLAN A for a path to legal permanent residency or citizenship. In fact, it isn’t guaranteed and if they obtain it, it is only good for 2 years. It reminds me a lot of Temporary Protected Status, no legal status but work authorization and renewed every few years.

After lots of consultations this week, I am most grateful because it is making people really think about their status and options and hopefully to talk to a qualifed immigration attorney about their case in detail.

We are holding Skype and phone consultations every day of the week right now from 7am-1pm CST. We will have in person consultations starting September 10th, most M-F 9am-5pm.  Before a consultation, a potential client schedules a time, pays the $50 fee online, completes our Deferred Action intake form on our Consultation page, and then faxes or emails any criminal record or key document to their case in advance so I can review it in conjunction with their intake form answers and the consultation.

If a potential client wants to hire us, we send a contract via email for their review with payment information and then when we receive the payment and signed contract, we send the client a list of documents and questionnaire.

We are grateful that the estimated 800,000 to 1.2 million people in the US may qualify for work authorization and peace of mind from immigration detention.  We do hope that people take this time to address what many are afraid to talk or think about, their immigration status.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Ruby L. Powers

Houston Immigration Attorney


Early filing for Obama’s deferred action program smart, but filing correctly is smarter Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/early-filing-obama-deferred-action-program-smart-filing-correctly-smarter-article-1.1135980#ixzz23c4DWUiM

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends Leave a comment
PUBLISHED: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2012, 4:00 AM
UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2012, 4:00 AM

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/early-filing-obama-deferred-action-program-smart-filing-correctly-smarter-article-1.1135980?pgno=1#ixzz23c4ToZfG

The Obama deferred action program for undocumented youth is on. Some Dreamers want to submit their applications as soon as possible. Filing early makes sense, but it’s better to do it right than to file it early. Friday, I’ll provide more information about the process. Meanwhile, you can get more information at uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.

If you qualify for what U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services calls Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, get to work on your application. Don’t miss out on getting two-years legal status and employment authorization.

Q. I am a U.S. citizen, but my fiancé is undocumented. He came here illegally as a child. Should he apply for the Obama deferred action program? My fiancé and I are planning to get married soon. We want to get him his green card, but meanwhile we need your advice about whether he should try to get deferred action.

Orem, Utah

A. Your fiancé should get deferred action status. Doing so could make it easier for him to get permanent residence.

First, with deferred action, hell get employment authorization. If he starts working, that may help you prove that he won’t become a “public charge,” a person who needs government cash assistance.

More important, if your fiancé can get USCIS travel permission, called “advanced parole,” he will then qualify to adjust status — to interview for permanent residence in the United States. USCIS says that individuals with deferred action status can get advance parole only for humanitarian, business or educational reasons. It’s too early to tell how strict USCIS will be in applying these rules.

Finally, by working with USCIS permission, your fiancé will increase his ties to the United States. That will help if he needs to travel abroad to get him an immigrant visa. Since he has been here so long unlawfully, he’ll need a USCIS waiver, a form of forgiveness, once he leaves the United States without advanced parole. President Obama has promised that spouses of U.S. citizens needing an “unlawful presence” waiver will be able to apply for that waiver before leaving the United States. That process should be in place by the end of this year. By working, your fiancé’s improves his chances to get the waiver.

Q. Do high school students who have yet to receive their diploma qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals? These students meet all other DACA requirements.

Name withheld, Gilroy, Calif.

A. Yes, though they must be at least age 15 to apply. If the students are not yet age 15, they may apply once they reach that age. An exception is for young people already in removal (deportation) proceedings. They qualify for deferred action before turning 15.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/early-filing-obama-deferred-action-program-smart-filing-correctly-smarter-article-1.1135980#ixzz23c4McA3v


Chasing a ‘dream’: Immigrant youth seek legal status

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends Leave a comment

Article 

By Miranda Leitsinger, NBC News

Yelky Perez knows exactly where she will be at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday: On the government’s immigration services website, scouring for the application that could let her pursue her dream career as a surgeon and stay in the U.S. legally.

Perez, who said she illegally entered the country from the Dominican Republic at 13 to reunite with her family, will join hundreds of thousands of other young adults as the Obama administration launches an initiative that will prevent deportation temporarily for those who qualify. She has already collected the documents she believes she’ll need, including debit card receipts to show she was in the U.S. the day that the policy was announced, which is one of the requirements.

“I want to make sure that my application is one of the first ones going in because, as they said, the applications will be processed in the order they are received … I want to make sure mine is one of the first ones that gets there,” said Perez, 20, with an enthusiastic chuckle.

The “deferred action” program, outlined in a government memorandum in mid-June, will give certain young illegal immigrants two-year work permits, allowing them to stay in the country and emerge from the underground economy. Some 937,000 people brought here as children might immediately qualify, according to a recent study. Another 426,000 aged 15 and under could, too, if the program remains in place. The states with the highest number of likely recipients are California, Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer responds to President Obama’s immigration policy announcement in mid-June.

The initiative appears to be a bid on President Obama’s part to provide temporary relief to those eligible for the Dream Act, legislation aimed at those brought to the U.S. as children that has stalled in Congress. The program has been cautiously welcomed by advocates as a first step toward immigration reform, but criticized by others as an amnesty that could become permanent.

“This is the kind of thing Congress is supposed to decide and yet what the White House has done is unilaterally implement its own amnesty program,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington think tank. “The idea that this is just a temporary halt in deportation and what not is complete baloney. These people are all going to get employment authorization documents, work cards and social security numbers, and supposedly it’s for only two years.

“… we have other temporary immigration programs and what we’ve learned from that is there is nothing as permanent as a temporary immigrant. Anybody who actually gets this program is here for good, period,” he added.

Immigrants must meet certain criteria to qualify, including: arrival in the U.S. under the age of 16; no older than 30 today and no younger than 15; currently enrolled in school, graduated high school or served in the military; have been in the country for five continuous years; and have a clean criminal record.

Courtesy of Yelky Perez.

Yelky Perez, 20, in Albany for an immigration reform rally in 2012.

At the New York Immigration Coalition, advocates have been deluged with calls from those who could potentially qualify.

“We do see this policy as a substantial step forward towards immigration reform,” said Jacqueline Esposito, the coalition’s director of immigration advocacy. “We recognize that this particular relief is limited in nature, but we believe it’s going to build momentum to more lasting reform.”

Obama administration won’t seek deportation of young illegal immigrants
Skepticism, joy among illegal immigrants over Obama decision
First Read: Obama leads big with Latinos
Immigration order poses dilemma for those eligible 

Perez, a college graduate who earns $300 for her 45-hour work weeks at an under-the-table job at a publishing firm helping to edit immigration books, hopes to resume her studies to become a surgeon. She dropped her pre-med program in college because she decided it would be too hard to practice medicine in the U.S. because of her status.

“I actually was ready to kind of just plan my life with my $300 pay a week,” she said. But the promise of deferred action has her mulling a year-long course to prepare for medical school. “Maybe I can … become a surgeon, like I wanted to do originally.”

There are risks with coming forward, however, Esposito said.

President Obama announces in mid-June that the Department of Homeland Security will no longer seek the deportation of many young illegal immigrants.

“We do advise people that deferred action is temporary … the program could be ended at any time,” she said. “It’s not a legislative solution. It’s simply an administrative reform.”

Perez speaks confidently about what she has accomplished since she coming here in 2005: She quickly learned English in New York after her arrival and graduated as valedictorian of her high school class at 16; she completed college with the highest GPA in her major of public affairs (her studies were paid for by a benefactor).

But there have also been lows, too. Though Perez said she knew she was coming illegally, she had no idea the challenges she would face: an inability to pick up mail in one’s name at the post office, how hard it can be to get paid a decent wage, and the difficulty of obtaining a government-issued identification.

She also can’t go to the Dominican Republic to see her extended family, and the fear of deportation looms constantly.

“It’s been quite an experience. I did sometimes kind of feel like, ‘Oh, why me?’ and I would get depressed and cry. I used to cry a lot. Not anymore,” she said. “I kind of really have turned to see things a little more in a positive lens … I decided I needed to stop thinking about it, just look at the things I was able to do within my limitations, which were plenty.”

Perez’s father, Julio, said he brought Yelky and her brother, now 23, to the U.S. with hopes of a better education and a better future (his oldest daughter came on a humanitarian visa; his common-law wife is also from the Dominican Republic and doesn’t have legal status, Perez said).

“I never thought it would take so long for her and that it would be such a difficult path,” said Julio, who only wanted to be identified by his first name since he is in the country illegally and fears repercussions.

He alerted his daughter to the administration’s announcement of the program on June 15.

“I think it was one of the happiest days of my life. I can die tomorrow and I can die satisfied” knowing that my decision to bring her here won’t prevent her from achieving her dreams, he said, speaking in Spanish. “For me, Yelky is everything. It was very exciting when I got that news, a joy overtook me.”

Esposito, of the immigration coalition, said that since the program doesn’t confer lawful immigration status, successful applicants can’t help their parents with their own status, making the new policy “bittersweet.”

Perez, who has married a U.S. citizen (though that won’t help her immigration status for the time being, since she entered the country illegally), said she is concerned about exposing her parents to immigration authorities in the application process.

“It’s very unclear and I am a little skeptical,” she said of the potential outing of her parents. “But I just don’t have much of a choice … this is an opportunity that I have to take advantage of now.”

NBC News’ Natalia Jimenez contributed to this report.


The Top 8 Items from Today’s DHS Announcement on Deferred Action

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends Leave a comment
The Top 8 Items from Today’s DHS Announcement on Deferred Action 
 

    1. In a change from the prior announcement, people currently in removal proceedings will use the USCIS process when it is implemented on August 15, 2012, rather than go through ICE. Only individuals in detention will go through ICE to make a deferred action request.

    1. Information provided as part of the deferred action request process is protected from disclosure to ICE or CBP for purposes of removal proceedings unless the requestor meets the criteria of USCIS’ November 2011 NTA memo.

    1. If a departure from the U.S. was due to removal, voluntary departure, etc., the absence was not brief, casual and innocent and would interupt the continuous residence that is required since June 15, 2007. Short absences before August 15, 2012, reasonably calculated to accomplish the purpose of the trip, would not be interuptive.

    1. Only people who are currently not in status and were not in any lawful status on June 15, 2012 are eligible.

    1. A “significant misdemeanor” is one for which the individual was sentenced to more than 90 days, or a conviction for domestic violence, sexual abuse, burglary, firearm violation, drug distribution or trafficking (but not possession), or DUI, regardless of the sentence.

    1. Minor traffic offenses, such as driving without a license, are not considered misdemeanors that count toward the “3 or more” standard.

    1. The Form I-765 will be required, along with another form that will be made available on August 14 or 15. Total fees, including biometics, will be $465. Fee waivers will not be available, but fee exemptions will be permitted in very limited circumstances, and must be requested and approved before submitting a deferred action application without a fee.

  1. Whether a person has reached age 15, and whether the requestor meets the education requirements, will be determined as of the date the request for deferred action is filed, NOT the June 15, 2012 date.

For complete coverage of the latest immigration updates, please visit AILA InfoNet’s Recent Postings page.


Fees, other rules clarified for new immigrant policy

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

Immigrants who came to this country as children will have to pay $465 to apply for deferred action, the so-called administrative DREAM Act, the Obama administration announced Friday.

Alejandro Mayorkas, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, laid out guidelines ahead of the Aug. 15 launch of the new policy that allows some young immigrants who are in the country illegally to apply for two-year work permits.

The agency clarified that to apply, immigrants must have been born after June 15, 1981, arrived in the U.S. before they turned 16 and lived here continuously since June 15, 2012. They must meet certain educational requirements or be a veteran at the time they apply.

Applicants, including those in removal proceedings, will be able to apply for both parts of the program, deferred action and a work permit, Mayorkas said.

‘The biggest concerns’

Perhaps the most important part of the announcement was the administration’s assurance that USCIS won’t ship applicants’ information to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcementagents unless they are national security threats, lie on their applications or are “serious” criminal offenders, advocates said.

“We’re going to issue a very clear statement that information used in the (deferred action) request will not be used for enforcement purposes,” a senior administration official said in a conference call with reporters.

“I think that was one of the biggest concerns,” said Benita Veliz, 27, a graduate of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio whose deportation case was closed last year but who has not been eligible for a work permit.

“For them to be able to assure applicants for the information not being able to be used against them is very important for people to be able to take advantage of the policy.”

It had also been unclear if brief trips abroad would mean applicants violated the rule that they live in the U.S. continuously for five years, said Crystal Williams, executive director of theAmerican Immigration Lawyers Association.

“If you left the country briefly for something like a family wedding or to go to grandma’s funeral, that won’t have to go to interrupting your residence,” she said.

800,000 affected

USCIS, which is funded by fees and not taxpayer money, hasn’t started hiring staff and will do so based on demand, the administration official said.

Department of Homeland Security officials have estimated about 800,000 people will be affected by the new policy, although other groups say the number is larger.

 

jbuch@express-news.net


Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process

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

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 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety, including individuals convicted of crimes with particular emphasis on violent criminals, felons, and repeat offenders, DHS will exercise prosecutorial discretion as appropriate to ensure that enforcement resources are not expended on low priority cases, such as individuals who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines.  Individuals who demonstrate that they meet the guidelines below may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and may be eligible for employment authorization.

You may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Individuals may begin to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals on August 15, 2012.  Please do not file before August 15.  If you file early, your request will be rejected.  Individuals can call USCIS at             1-800-375-5283       with questions or to request more information on the deferred action for childhood arrivals process or visit www.uscis.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Guidelines for Requesting Consideration of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals
Filing Process
Evidence
Cases in Other Immigration Processes
Avoiding Scams and Preventing Fraud

About Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

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 individual whose case is deferred 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 excuse individuals of any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence.
Under existing regulations, an individual whose case has been deferred is eligible to receive employment authorization for the period of deferred action, provided he or she can demonstrate “an economic necessity for employment.” DHS can terminate or renew deferred action at any time at the agency’s discretion.

What is deferred action for childhood arrivals?
On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization.

Individuals who can demonstrate through verifiable documentation that they meet these guidelines will be considered for deferred action. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis under the guidelines set forth in the Secretary of Homeland Security’s memorandum.

If my removal is deferred pursuant to the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals process, am I eligible for employment authorization?
Yes. Pursuant to existing regulations, if your case is deferred, you may obtain employment authorization from USCIS provided you can demonstrate an economic necessity for employment.

Does this process apply to me if I am currently in removal proceedings, have a final removal order, or have a voluntary departure order?
This process is open to any individual who can demonstrate he or she meets the guidelines for consideration, including those who have never been in removal proceedings as well as those in removal proceedings, with a final order, or with a voluntary departure order (as long as they are not in immigration detention). If you are not in immigration detention and want to affirmatively request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals, you must submit your request to USCIS – not ICE – pursuant to the procedures outlined below. If you are currently in immigration detention and believe you meet the guidelines you should not request consideration of deferred action from USCIS but should identify yourself to your detention officer or contact the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at             1-888-351-4024       (staffed 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday) or by email at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

Do I accrue unlawful presence if I have a pending request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals?
You will continue to accrue unlawful presence while the request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals is pending, unless you are under 18 years old at the time of the request. If you are under 18 years old at the time you submit your request but turn 18 while your request is pending with USCIS, you will not accrue unlawful presence while the request pending. If your case is deferred, you will not accrue unlawful presence during the period of deferred action. Having action deferred on your case will not excuse previously accrued unlawful presence.

If my case is deferred, am I in lawful status for the period of deferral?
No. Although action on your case has been deferred and you do not accrue unlawful presence during the period of deferred action, deferred action does not confer any lawful status.

There is a significant difference between “unlawful presence” and “unlawful status.” Unlawful presence refers to a period an individual is present in the United States (1) without being admitted or paroled or (2) after the expiration of a period of stay authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (such as after the period of stay authorized by a visa has expired). Unlawful presence is relevant only with respect to determining whether the inadmissibility bars for unlawful presence, set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act at Section 212(a)(9), apply to an individual if he or she departs the United States and subsequently seeks to re-enter. (These unlawful presence bars are commonly known as the 3- and 10-Year Bars.)

The fact that you are not accruing unlawful presence does not change whether you are in lawful status while you remain in the United States.  Because you lack lawful status at the time DHS defers action in your case you remain subject to all legal restrictions and prohibitions on individuals in unlawful status.

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

Will my immediate relatives or dependents be considered for deferred action for childhood arrivals?
No. The new process is open only to those who satisfy the guidelines. As such, immediate relatives, including dependents of individuals whose cases are deferred pursuant to the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals process, may not be considered for deferred action as part of this process unless they independently satisfy the guidelines.

Can I be considered for deferred action even if I do not meet the guidelines to be considered for deferred action for childhood arrivals?
This process is only for individuals who meet the specific guidelines announced by the Secretary. Other individuals may, on a case-by-case basis, request deferred action from USCIS or ICE in certain circumstances, consistent with longstanding practice.

Will the information I share in my request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals be used for immigration enforcement purposes?
Information provided in this request is protected from disclosure to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the purpose of immigration enforcement proceedings unless the requestor meets the criteria for the issuance of a Notice To Appear or a referral to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the criteria set forth in USCIS’s Notice to Appear guidance (www.uscis.gov/NTA).  Individuals whose cases are deferred pursuant to the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals process will not be referred to ICE. The information may be shared with national security and law enforcement agencies, including ICE and CBP, for purposes other than removal, including for assistance in the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals, to identify or prevent fraudulent claims, for national security purposes, or for the investigation or prosecution of a criminal offense. The above information sharing policy covers family members and guardians, in addition to the requestor.

This policy, which may be modified, superseded, or rescinded at any time without notice, is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any administrative, civil, or criminal matter.

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.The Secretary’s June 15th memorandum allowing certain people to request consideration for deferred action is the most recent in a series of steps that DHS has taken to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety. Deferred action does not provide lawful status or a pathway to citizenship. As the President has stated, individuals who would qualify for the DREAM Act deserve certainty about their status. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer the certainty that comes with a pathway to permanent lawful status.

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Guidelines for Requesting Consideration of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals

What guidelines must I meet to be considered for deferred action for childhood arrivals?
Pursuant to the Secretary’s June 15, 2012 memorandum, in order to be considered for deferred action for childhood arrivals, you must submit evidence, including support documents, showing that you:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and;
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

These guidelines must be met for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals. USCIS retains the ultimate discretion on whether deferred action is appropriate in any given case.

How old must I be in order to be considered for deferred action under this process?

  • If you have never been in removal proceedings, or your proceedings have been terminated before your request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals, you must be at least 15 years of age or older at the time of filing and meet the other guidelines.
  • If you are in removal proceedings, have a final removal order, or have a voluntary departure order, and are not in immigration detention, you can request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals even if you are under the age of 15 at the time of filing and meet the other guidelines.
  • In all instances, you cannot be the age of 31 or older as of June 15, 2012 to be considered for deferred action for childhood arrivals.

Does “currently in school” refer to the date on which the request for consideration of deferred action is filed?
To be considered “currently in school” under the guidelines, you must be enrolled in school on the date you submit a request for consideration of deferred action under this process.

Do brief departures from the United States interrupt the continuous residence requirement?
A brief, casual, and innocent absence from the United States will not interrupt your continuous residence. If you were absent from the United States for any period of time, your absence will be considered brief, casual, and innocent, if it was before August 15, 2012, and:

  1. The absence was short and reasonably calculated to accomplish the purpose for the absence;
  2. The absence was not because of an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal;
  3. The absence was not because of an order of voluntary departure, or an administrative grant of voluntary departure before you were placed in exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings; and
  4. The purpose of the absence and/or your actions while outside the United States were not contrary to law.

May I travel outside of the United States before USCIS has determined whether to defer action in my case?
No. After August 15, 2012, if you travel outside of the United States, you will not be considered for deferred action under this process. If USCIS defers action in your case, you will be permitted to travel outside of the United States only if you apply for and receive advance parole from USCIS.

Any travel outside of the United States that occurred before August 15, 2012, will be assessed by USCIS to determine whether the travel qualifies as brief, casual and innocent (see above).

Note:  If you are in unlawful status and/or are currently in removal proceedings, and you leave the United States without a grant of advance parole, you will be deemed to have removed yourself and will be subject to any applicable grounds of inadmissibility if you seek to return.

Travel Guidelines

Travel Dates Type of Travel Does it Affect Continuous Residence
Before August 15, 2012
  • brief
  • casual
  • innocent
No
  • For an extended time
  • Because of an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal
  • To participate in criminal activity
Yes
After August 15, 2012 and before you have requested deferred action
  • Any
Yes.

Yes. You cannot travel while your request is under review.
You cannot apply for advance parole unless and until DHS has determined whether to defer action in your case.

After August 15, 2012 and after you have requested deferred action
  • Any

 

If my case is deferred pursuant to the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals process, will I be able to travel outside of the United States?
Not automatically. If USCIS has decided to defer action in your case and you want to travel outside the United States, you must apply for advance parole by filing a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document and paying the applicable fee ($360). USCIS will determine whether your purpose for international travel is justifiable based on the circumstances you describe in your request. Generally, USCIS will only grant advance parole if you are traveling for humanitarian purposes, educational purposes, or employment purposes. You may not apply for advance parole unless and until USCIS defers action in your case pursuant to the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals process. You cannot apply for advance parole at the same time as you submit your request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals. All advance parole requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If I have a conviction for a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanors, can I receive an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this new process?
No. If you 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, you will not be considered for deferred action under the new process except where DHS determines there are exceptional circumstances.

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 constitute a significant misdemeanor?
For the purposes of this process, a significant misdemeanor is a misdemeanor as defined by federal law (specifically, one for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days) and that meets the following criteria:

  1. Regardless of the sentence imposed, is an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; or,
  2. If not an offense listed above, is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of more than 90 days. The sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and therefore does not include a suspended sentence.

The time in custody does not include any time served beyond the sentence for the criminal offense based on a state or local law enforcement agency honoring a detainer issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Notwithstanding the above, the decision whether to defer action in a particular case is an individualized, discretionary one that is made taking into account the totality of the circumstances. Therefore, the absence of the criminal history outlined above, or its presence, is not necessarily determinative, but is a factor to be considered in the unreviewable exercise of discretion. DHS retains the discretion to determine that an individual does not warrant deferred action on the basis of a single criminal offense for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or less.

What offenses constitute a non-significant misdemeanor?
For purposes of this process, a non-significant misdemeanor is any misdemeanor as defined by federal law (specifically, one for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days) and that meets the following criteria:

  1. Is not an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; and
  2. Is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or less.

The time in custody does not include any time served beyond the sentence for the criminal offense based on a state or local law enforcement agency honoring a detainer issued by ICE.  Notwithstanding the above, the decision whether to defer action in a particular case is an individualized, discretionary one that is made taking into account the totality of the circumstances.  Therefore, the absence of the criminal history outlined above, or its presence, is not necessarily determinative, but is a factor to be considered in the unreviewable exercise of discretion.

If I have a minor traffic offense, such as driving without a license, will it be considered a non-significant misdemeanor that counts towards the “three or more non-significant misdemeanors” making me unable to receive consideration for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this new process?
A minor traffic offense will not be considered a misdemeanor for purposes of this process. However, your entire offense history can be considered along with other facts to determine whether, under the totality of the circumstances, you warrant an exercise of prosecutorial discretion.

It is important to emphasize that driving under the influence is a significant misdemeanor regardless of the sentence imposed.

Will offenses criminalized as felonies or misdemeanors by state immigration laws be considered felonies or misdemeanors for purpose of this process?
No.  Immigration-related offenses characterized as felonies or misdemeanors by state immigration laws will not be treated as disqualifying felonies or misdemeanors for the purpose of considering a request for consideration of deferred action pursuant to this process.

Will DHS consider my expunged or juvenile conviction as an offense making me unable to receive an exercise of prosecutorial discretion?
Expunged convictions and juvenile convictions will not automatically disqualify you. Your request will be assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine whether, under the particular circumstances, a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion is warranted. If you were a juvenile, but tried and convicted as an adult, you will be treated as an adult for purposes of the deferred action for childhood arrivals process.

What qualifies as a national security or public safety threat?
If the background check or other information uncovered during the review of your request for deferred action indicates that your presence in the United States threatens public safety or national security, you will not be able to receive consideration for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion except where DHS determines there are exceptional circumstances. Indicators that you pose such a threat include, but are not limited to, gang membership, participation in criminal activities, or participation in activities that threaten the United States.

Can I request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals under this process if I am currently in a nonimmigrant status (e.g. F-1, E-2, H-4) or have Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
No. You can only request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals under this process if you currently have no immigration status and were not in any lawful status on June 15, 2012.

If I am not in removal proceedings but believe I meet the guidelines for an exercise of deferred action under this process, should I seek to place myself into removal proceedings through encounters with CBP or ICE?
No. If you are not in removal proceedings but believe that you meet the guidelines you should submit your request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals to USCIS under the process outlined below.

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Filing Process

How do I request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals?
Beginning August 15, 2012, you will be required to submit your request for consideration of deferred action to USCIS through a form, along with a form requesting an employment authorization document. The total fees will be $465. USCIS is still developing the forms and will be submitting them to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.  Pending OMB clearance, the forms and instructions will be available on the USCIS website on August 15, 2012.  Do not submit any request to USCIS before these forms are available. All requests received before August 15, 2012, will be rejected.

Note: All individuals meeting the guidelines, including those in removal proceedings, with a final removal order, or with a voluntary departure order (and not in immigration detention), will affirmatively request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS through this process. Individuals who are currently detained and believe they meet the guidelines should not request deferred action from USCIS but should identify themselves to their detention officer.

Will USCIS conduct a background check when reviewing my request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals?
Yes. You must undergo biographic and biometric background checks before USCIS will consider whether to exercise prosecutorial discretion under the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals process. If you 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, you will not be considered for deferred action for childhood arrivals except where DHS determines there are exceptional circumstances.

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.

If USCIS does not exercise deferred action in my case, will I be placed in removal proceedings?
If you have submitted a request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals and USCIS decides not to defer action in your case, USCIS will apply its policy guidance governing the referral of cases to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the issuance of Notices to Appear (NTA). If your case does not involve a criminal offense, fraud, or a threat to national security or public safety, your case will not be referred to ICE for purposes of removal proceedings except where DHS determines there are exceptional circumstances. For more detailed information on the applicable NTA policy visit www.uscis.gov/NTA. If after a review of the totality of circumstances USCIS determines to defer action in your case, USCIS will likewise exercise its discretion and will not issue you a Notice to Appear.

Can I obtain a fee waiver or fee exemption for this process?
There are no fee waivers available for employment authorization applications connected to the deferred action for childhood arrivals process. There are very limited fee exemptions available. Requests for fee exemptions must be filed and favorably adjudicated before an individual files his/her request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals without a fee. In order to be considered for a fee exemption, you must submit a letter and supporting documentation to USCIS demonstrating that you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You are under 18 years of age, homeless, in foster care or otherwise lacking any parental or other familial support, and your income is less than 150% of the U.S. poverty level.
  • You cannot care for yourself because you suffer from a serious, chronic disability and your income is less than 150% of the U.S. poverty level.
  • You have, at the time of the request, accumulated $25,000 or more in debt in the past 12 months as a result of unreimbursed medical expenses for yourself or an immediate family member, and your income is less than 150% of the U.S. poverty level.

Beginning August 15, 2012 additional information on how to make your request for a fee exemption will be available on www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals. Your request must be submitted and decided before you submit a request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals without a fee. In order to be considered for a fee exemption, you must provide documentary evidence to demonstrate that you meet any of the above conditions at the time that you make the request. For evidence USCIS will:

  • Accept affidavits from community-based or religious organizations to establish a requestor’s homelessness or lack of parental or other familial financial support.
  • Accept copies of tax returns, banks statement, pay stubs, or other reliable evidence of income level. Evidence can also include an affidavit from the applicant or a responsible third party attesting that the applicant does not file tax returns, has no bank accounts, and/or has no income to prove income level.
  • Accept copies of medical records, insurance records, bank statements, or other reliable evidence of unreimbursed medical expenses of at least $25,000.
  • Address factual questions through requests for evidence (RFEs).

Will there be supervisory review of decisions by USCIS under this process?
Yes. USCIS will implement a supervisory review process in all four Service Centers to ensure a consistent process for considering requests for deferred action for childhood arrivals. USCIS will require officers to elevate for supervisory review those cases that involve certain factors.

Can I appeal USCIS’s determination?
No. You cannot file a motion to reopen or reconsider, and cannot appeal the decision if USCIS denies your request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals. USCIS will not review its discretionary determinations. You may request a review using the Service Request Management Tool (SRMT) process if you met all of the process guidelines and you believe that your request was denied due to one of the following errors:

  • USCIS denied the request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals based on abandonment and you claim that you did respond to a Request for Evidence within the prescribed time; or
  • USCIS mailed the Request for Evidence to the wrong address, even though you had submitted a Form AR-11, Change of Address, or changed your address online atwww.uscis.gov before the issuance of the Request for Evidence.

Can I extend the period of deferred action in my case?
Yes. Unless terminated, individuals whose case is deferred pursuant to the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals process will not be placed into removal proceedings or removed from the United States for a period of two years. You may request consideration for an extension of that period of deferred action. As long as you were not above the age of 30 on June 15, 2012, you may request a renewal after turning 31. Your request for an extension will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If my period of deferred action is extended, will I need to re-apply for an extension of my employment authorization?
Yes. If USCIS decides to defer action for additional periods beyond the initial two years, you must also have requested an extension of your employment authorization.

Will USCIS personnel responsible for reviewing requests for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this process receive special training?
Yes. USCIS personnel responsible for considering requests for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals will receive special training.

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Evidence

What documentation may be sufficient to demonstrate that I came to the United States before the age of 16?
Documentation sufficient for you to demonstrate that you came to the United States before the age of 16 may include, but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records. Additional information about what documentation you can submit will be provided on the USCIS website on August 15, 2012.

What documentation may be sufficient to demonstrate that I have resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012?
Documentation sufficient for you to demonstrate that you have resided in the United States for at five years immediately preceding June 15, 2012, may include, but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records. Additional information about what documentation you can submit will be provided on the USCIS website on August 15, 2012.

What documentation may be sufficient to demonstrate that I was physically present in the United States as of June 15, 2012?
Documentation sufficient for you to demonstrate that you were physically present on June 15, 2012, the date the memorandum was issued, may include, but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records.  Additional information about what documentation you can submit will be provided on the USCIS website on August 15, 2012.

What documentation may be sufficient to demonstrate that I am currently in school, have graduated from high school, or have obtained a general education development certificate (GED)?
Documentation sufficient for you to demonstrate that you are currently in school, have graduated from high school, or have obtained a GED certificate may include, but is not limited to: diplomas, GED certificates, report cards, and school transcripts. Additional information about what documentation you can submit will be provided on the USCIS website on August 15, 2012.

What documentation may be sufficient to demonstrate that I am an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States?
Documentation sufficient for you to demonstrate that you are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States may include, but is not limited to: report of separation forms, military personnel records, and military health records. Additional information about what documentation you can submit will be provided on the USCIS website on August 15, 2012.

May I file affidavits as proof that I meet the guidelines for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals?
Affidavits generally will not be sufficient on their own to demonstrate that you meet the guidelines for USCIS to consider you for deferred action for childhood arrivals.
However, affidavits may be used to support meeting the following guidelines only if the documentary evidence available to you is insufficient or lacking:

  • A gap in the documentation demonstrating that you meet the five year continuous residence requirement; and
  • A shortcoming in documentation with respect to the brief, casual and innocent departures during the five years of required continuous presence.

If you submit affidavits related to the above criteria, you must submit two or more affidavits, sworn to or affirmed by people other than yourself, who have direct personal knowledge of the events and circumstances. Should USCIS determine that the affidavits are insufficient to overcome the unavailability or the lack of documentary evidence with respect to either of these guidelines, it will issue a Request for Evidence, indicating that further evidence must be submitted to demonstrate that you meet these guidelines.

USCIS will not accept affidavits as proof of satisfying the following guidelines:

  • You are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  • You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
  • You came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  • You were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012; and
  • Your criminal history, if applicable.

If the only evidence you submit to demonstrate you meet any of the above guidelines is an affidavit, USCIS will issue a Request for Evidence, indicating that you have not demonstrated that you meet these guidelines and that you must do so in order to demonstrate that you meet that guideline.

Will USCIS consider circumstantial evidence that I have met certain guidelines?
Circumstantial evidence may be used to establish the following guidelines and factual showings if available documentary evidence is insufficient or lacking and shows that:

  • You were physically  present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
  • You came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  • You satisfy the five year continuous residence requirement, as long as you present direct evidence of your continued residence in the United States for a portion of the required five-year period and the circumstantial evidence is used only to fill in gaps in the length of continuous residence demonstrated by the direct evidence; and
  • Any travel outside the United States during the five years of required continuous presence was brief, casual, and innocent.

However, USCIS will not accept circumstantial evidence as proof of any of the following guidelines to demonstrate that you:

  • Were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012; and
  • Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.

For example, if you do not have documentary proof of your presence in the United States on June 15, 2012, you may nevertheless be able to satisfy the guideline circumstantially by submitting credible documentary evidence that you were present in the United States shortly before and shortly after June 15, 2012, which under the facts presented may give rise to an inference of your presence on June 15, 2012 as well. However, circumstantial evidence will not be accepted to establish that you have graduated high school. You must submit direct documentary evidence to satisfy that you meet this guideline.

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Cases in Other Immigration Processes

Will I be considered to be in unlawful status if I had an application for asylum or cancellation of removal pending before either USCIS or the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) on June 15, 2012?
Yes.  If you had an application for asylum or cancellation of removal, or similar relief, pending before either USCIS or EOIR as of June 15, 2012, but had no lawful status, you may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals.

Can I request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS if I am in immigration detention under the custody of ICE?
No.  If you are currently in immigration detention, you may not request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS. If you think you may meet the guidelines of this process, you should identify yourself to your detention officer or contact the ICE Office of the Public Advocate so that ICE may review your case.  The ICE Office of the Public Advocate can be reached through the Office’s hotline at             1-888-351-4024       (staffed 9 a.mm – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday) or by email at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov

If I am about to be removed by ICE and believe that I meet the guidelines for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals, what steps should I take to seek review of your case before removal?
If you believe you can demonstrate that you meet the guidelines and are about to be removed, 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 through the Office’s hotline at             1-888-351-4024       (staffed 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday) or by email at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

If individuals meet the guidelines for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals and are encountered by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or ICE, will they be placed into removal proceedings?
This policy is intended to allow CBP and ICE to focus on priority cases. Pursuant to the direction of the Secretary of Homeland Security, if an individual meets the guidelines of this process, CBP or ICE should exercise their discretion on a case-by-case basis to prevent qualifying individuals from being apprehended, placed into removal proceedings, or removed. If individuals believe that, in light of this policy, they should not have been placed into removal proceedings, 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 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday) or by email atEROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

If I accepted an offer of administrative closure under the case-by-case review process or my case was terminated as part of the case-by-case review process, can I be considered for deferred action under this process?
Yes. If you can demonstrate that you meet the guidelines, you will be able to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals even if you have accepted an offer of administrative closure or termination under the case-by-case review process. If you are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the guidelines and warranting discretion as part of ICE’s case-by-case review, ICE already has offered you deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

If I declined an offer of administrative closure under the case-by-case review process, can I be considered for deferred action under this process?
Yes. If you can demonstrate that you meet the guidelines, you will be able to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS even if you declined an offer of administrative closure under the case-by-case review process.

If my case was reviewed as part of the case-by-case review process but I was not offered administrative closure, can I be considered for deferred action under this process?
Yes. If you can demonstrate that you meet the guidelines, you will be able to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS even if you were not offered administrative closure following review of you case as part of the case-by-case review process.

How will ICE and USCIS handle cases involving individuals who do not satisfy the guidelines of this process but believe they may warrant an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under the June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda?
If USCIS determines that you do not satisfy the guidelines or otherwise determines you do not warrant an exercise of prosecutorial discretion, then it will decline to defer action in your case. If you are currently in removal proceedings, have a final order, or have a voluntary departure order, you may then request ICE consider whether to exercise 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.

What should I do if I meet the guidelines of this process and have been issued an ICE detainer following an arrest by a state or local law enforcement officer?
If you meet the guidelines 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 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday) or by email atEROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

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Avoiding Scams and Preventing Fraud

Someone told me if I pay them a fee, they can expedite my deferred action for childhood arrivals request, is this true?
No. There is no expedited processing for deferred action. Dishonest practitioners may promise to provide you with faster services if you pay them a fee. These people are trying to scam you and take your money. Visit our Avoid Scams page to learn how you can protect yourself from immigration scams.

Make sure you seek information about requests for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from official government sources such as USCIS or the Department of Homeland Security. If you are seeking legal advice, visit our Find Legal Services page to learn how to choose a licensed attorney or accredited representative.

What steps will USCIS and ICE take if I engage in fraud through the new process?
If you knowingly make a misrepresentation, or knowingly fail to disclose facts, in an effort to have your case deferred or obtain work authorization through this new process, you will be treated as an immigration enforcement priority to the fullest extent permitted by law, and be subject to criminal prosecution and/or removal from the United States.

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Find this page at www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals

 

 

Last updated: 08/03/2012


6 Things You Need to Know About Deferred Action and DREAM Act Students

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

President Obama Takes Important Step to Help Immigrant Youth

 

Today President Barack Obama announced that his administration will suspend deportation (“deferred action”) and grant work authorization to DREAM Act-eligible youth, effective immediately. These youth, who were brought to the United States at a young age, have been living in limbo as Congress plays political football with their lives by failing to pass theDREAM Act and give them a pathway to legal status. Though the president’s action cannot grant permanent legal status, it is a significant step forward that will give piece of mind and the ability to work to a significant group of people.

The president’s announcement raised some questions, so we offer some clarity below by listing six things that you need to know about deferred action and DREAM Act students:

1. Does the president have the authority to do this? Yes. Deferred action is a type of prosecutorial discretion available to the president as part of routine immigration law. It allows the president to stop or suspend the deportation of an individual and to grant that person work authorization. Presidents from both parties have used deferred action frequently since 1971.

2. Who is eligible for deferred action? Similar to the provisions of the House-passedversion of the DREAM Act in 2010, anyone who came to the United States before age 16, and is over age 14 and under age 31 on June 15, 2012, is eligible if they have been in the United States for at least five years, are in or have completed high school, are in the armed services currently or have been honorably discharged, and have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or multiple misdemeanors. Individuals under 15 years old who are in, or get placed in removal proceedings, are also eligible to apply.

3. How many people are eligible? Up to 1.4 million people will qualify. DREAMers not already known to the Department of Homeland Security will be able to come forward and apply for the deferred action.

4. Isn’t this amnesty? Absolutely not. Deferred action is only a temporary two-year status; it is not permanent residency. It isn’t a reward for anything, and it does not allow any immigrant to bring over their family members. Further, it does not bring a single extra person into the United States. These youth already live here. DREAMers will be able to apply for this status, and it will be decided on a case-by-case basis. This is not a blanket form of relief.

5. Will this policy encourage more illegal immigration? No. This policy is neither a magnet for undocumented immigration nor a long-term solution to the problem. Only individuals who have been in the country for five years before today are eligible to apply for this temporary protection. It merely allows qualifying individuals to stop looking over their shoulder and start looking toward their future until Congress can overcome its paralysis.

6. Do we still need Congress to pass the DREAM Act? Yes! The president’s announcement gives only temporary legal status to DREAM Act-eligible youth, and it can be revoked with the stroke of a pen by the next president. Only Congress can pass a law—the DREAM Act—to protect these students permanently and give them a pathway to citizenship.


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


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. 


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