In a surprising announcement, the Obama Administration announced on June 15, 2012 that the Department of Homeland Security would begin offering deferred action to DREAM-act eligible young people.
PLEASE NOTE: this is NOT passage of the DREAM ACT that would give immigration status to hundreds of thousands of young, U.S. high school graduates who are undocumented. Rather, this is an offer of deferred action for those who may already be in removal (deportation) proceedings or wish to seek deferred action through the DHS. This is ONLY “deferred action”, meaning the DHS will NOT take steps to deport the individual as long as the “deferred action” is in effect. This is NOT grant of a “Green Card”, so be aware of notarios or lawyers who promise that they can get an alien a “green card” through this administrative action.
At this time, the requirements for eligibility are not quite clear, but the initial reports seem to list the following criteria:
(1) 15-30 years old, and have entered before age 16
(2) Have been present in the U.S. for 5 years before June 15, 2012 (The date of this administrative action)
(3) Have maintained continuous residence in the USA since that date (absences from the USA would break this continuous residence requirement)
(4) Must not be convicted of one serious crime or of multiple minor crimes (these crimes remain to be defined)
(5) Must have graduated from high school, or have been awarded a GED, or be currently enrolled in high school, OR have enlisted in the military
One positive aspect to deferred action is that typically, a person who receives deferred-action can then apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) if they can submit proof of economic necessity to work. Once the Employment Authorization Document is received, that person can then apply for and receive a legal social security number, and then apply for and receive a valid state issued ID or Driver’s license. That opens up the door to further education, vocational school, college, and employment. It brings people out from the “underground” into the light, where they can thrive and live their lives in relative security. Of course, once an individual starts working, he or she must file tax returns and play taxes. After all, that’s only fair to the country that has provided this generous opportunity.
The deferred action offer will be available to those in proceedings as well as to those who apply affirmatively. There are no specifics on the procedures for applications, fees, or definition of crimes, so stay tuned……