On June 15, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced a new administrative policy for deferred action for undocumented youth. As part of the earlier administrative policy, certain youth who pose no threat to national security and meet specific requirements can apply for deferred action. This would allow these qualified youth to be considered “low-priority” for deportation for a 2-year period, subject to renewal, and allow them to apply for work authorization.
The full details of the process will not be released until August 1, 2012, with the application available on August 15, 2012. Please be careful of any individual, announcement, or group claiming to have applications available now or claiming to be able to start the process now.
Persons seeking deferred action are eligible if they meet all of the criteria below:
● came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
● has continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012 and was present in the United States on June 15, 2012.
● is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate (GED), or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
● has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety; and
● is not above the age of thirty.
The deferred action policy applies to both undocumented youth currently in any stage of deportation proceedings and undocumented youth who are not in deportation proceedings.
This administrative policy is not a law and does not carry any permanent legal status.
If granted deferred action, youth will have the opportunity to obtain a renewable 2-year work permit, but this policy does not offer a pathway to permanent residency (green card) or citizenship.
The granting of deferred action does not eliminate youth from the deportation list, but instead places individuals granted deferred action at the bottom of the deportation list as “low-priority.” This will provide relief from deportation for the two-year period, allowing the student to remain in the United States for two years without the start of deportation proceedings.
If denied deferred action, youth may be placed in deportation proceedings. If you have a criminal record and are denied deferred action, you will be placed in removal proceedings. Once denied deferred action, there is no appeal process and youth cannot apply for relief once in proceedings.
Work permits are based on approval of “deferred action status.” If, after 2 years, the government declines to renew the deferred action, the student will no longer be eligible for employment authorization. If the program is discontinued, there is no guarantee that the individual will not be placed in removal proceedings. If the individual has committed crimes during the 2 year period, they may be subject to deportation proceedings upon renewal.
We encourage all interested persons to consult with an accredited organization or immigration attorney to discuss all aspects of their individual case, qualifications, and future application. We want everyone who would like to apply for deferred action to do so in the safest and most thorough way possible, so as to ensure that no risks are missed and to ensure that no one accidentally is placed into deportation proceedings as a result of applying for deferred action.
How LP Can Help
If you think that you may qualify, or know anyone who may qualify, please feel free to talk with LP’s Legal Services department about the deferred action process. A Legal Services caseworker will be happy to meet with you and discuss the deferred action announcement, process, and eligibility and direct you on the next steps for applying as information is released from USCIS.
Our hours of operation for walk-in consultations are Tuesdays from 9am to 2pm, Wednesdays from 9 am to 5pm, Thursdays from 9am to 5pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 1pm.
The full details of the memorandum and the qualifications that undocumented youth must meet are available on the DHS’s website.
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