Deferred Action for DREAM Immigrant Youth

On June 15, 2012, the Obama Administration announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be granting “Deferred Action” to young people who came to the United States as children.  DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano gave the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 60 days to create an application process for deferred action for immigrant youth.  We expect USCIS to make the application process public before August 14, 2012.

Deferred action is a discretionary and temporary relief from removal (or deportation).  Deferred action does not grant lawful status and does not extend to family members.  Under this new directive, individuals may apply for deferred action if they:

  • Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States for at least 5 years preceding the date of the DHS memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of the memorandum;
  • Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) 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;
  • Not be above the age of 30.

The government will grant deferred action to eligible individuals for two years and must be renewed every two years.  Deferred action is discretionary and can be terminated at any time.

Individuals granted deferred action will be eligible to apply for work authorization from USCIS and receive an employment authorization document (EAD).  The work authorization will also be issued in two-year increments.

 USCIS has a hotline that individuals may call for more information.  USCIS hotline number is: 1-800-375-5283.  More information can also be found by visiting USCIS’s website at http://www.uscis.gov.

Individuals should not apply now for deferred action.  Once the application process is announced, which should be by August 14, 2012, eligible individuals will be able to apply.

By Monica Guizar

Legal Developments