Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Although Congress did not pass the DREAM Act, which would have legalized the immigration status of many undocumented youths and been a pathway to U.S. citizenship, there at least will be some relief for Dreamers starting on August 15, 2012.* On that date, Dreamers can apply for deferred action.
In order to qualify, an individual must meet the following criteria:
- Have come to the United States while under the age of sixteen and before June 15, 2007;
- Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding June 15, 2012 and be present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
- 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;
- 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;
- Be thirty years of age or under on June 15, 2012; and
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012 or lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012.
Benefits of Deferred Action
An individual, who is granted deferred action, will have the following benefits:
- Written assurance that he or she will not be removed (i.e., deported).
- Eligible for work authorization, but must show economic necessity.
- Does not accrue unlawful presence while he or she has deferred action.
- Eligible for a Social Security Number once he or she has an Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”).
- May qualify for a driver’s license.
- May qualify for in-state tuition.
- May qualify for loans and grants.
Benefits which Deferred Action does NOT Confer:
- Deferred action is not amnesty.
- Deferred action is not a pathway to a “green card” or U.S. citizenship.
- Deferred action is not legal status.
- Deferred action is not permanent. It will be valid for two years and must then be renewed.
Documentation Needed When Applying for Deferred Action
Individuals, who wish to apply for deferred action, should try to collect as much of the following documentation as possible:
- School records;
- Medical records;
- Financial records, such as parents’ tax returns;
- Employment records;
- Church records; and
- Police and court records, if applicable.
How We Can Help
At Ferman Law, we will discuss with you the eligibility criteria to determine whether or not you qualify for deferred action. If you have a less than clean criminal record, we will advise you with regard to the potential risks of applying for deferred action. If you are eligible, we will prepare the necessary forms, assemble your application and submit it to the appropriate office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). When you are scheduled for a biometrics appointment, we will notify you of the appointment. We will also notify you when the USCIS makes a decision on your application and issues the EAD.
* Qualified individuals, who are in removal proceedings or have a final removal order, will be able to apply for deferred action prior to August 15, 2012.