Obama’s Deferred Action Immigration Policy Renews Hope For Young Illegal Aliens

Deferred Action Process for Young People Who Are Low Enforcement Priorities

Summary: On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced that the United States would not deport young illegal immigrants who have not broken the law and who came to the United States as children. Those who meet the following criteria may defer deportation action for up to two years, subject to renewal, and may obtain work permits: (1) Came to the U.S. under the age of sixteen; (2) Have lived in the U.S. for five continuous years preceding June 15, 2012, and are present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012; (3) Are currently in school, have a high school diploma G.E.D., or are honorably discharged veterans; (4) Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security; and (5) Are not above the age of thirty.

Discussion: This change in deportation policy bypasses the DREAM Act, which President Obama and Democratic congressmen had long sought. The new policy does not immunize qualified illegal immigrants from deportation; rather, it stipulates that qualified illegal aliens are now low enforcement priorities. President Obama has merely granted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement wider discretion when deciding if illegal aliens should be deported. This new policy will directly affect roughly 800,000 illegal immigrants living in the United States today. The new policy marks a dramatic shift in President Obama’s stance on illegal immigration: his administration deported a record number of illegal immigrants early in his first term.

Implications: While DREAM Act proponents hail this decision as a tremendous success, its effects may only last a short while. Successive administrations can easily revoke the policy change and reinstitute the previous status quo. Critics argue that Obama’s primary motive for the policy change is to rally support with Hispanic voters, yet proponents contend this policy is long overdue and allows productive individuals to continue their lives free from fear of deportation. Most importantly, the new policy discourages U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from deporting young illegal aliens who have committed minor misdemeanors, but who meet the other requirements.

Deferred Action Eligibility Checklist

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.

Source – USCIS Website.  

Links – Generally FAQs on the USCIS website can be found here.

Forms Required for Filing

  1. Form I-821D (Deferred Action Application)
  2. Supporting Documents
  3. Form I-765 and Accompanying Worksheet
  4. Form G-1145 (E-Notification of Petition)
  5. Form G-28 (if represented by an attorney)

Total Filing Fee – $465.00

DISCLAIMER: The above information does not constitute legal advice.  It is important to accurately assess each individual case and it is therefore recommended that you consult a knowledgeable Immigration Attorney. Please visit Dhar Law LLP’s website or call (617)880-6155 for more information.


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