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Home  » Derferred Action for Immigrant Youths

Derferred Action for Immigrant Youths

The Obama administration recently announced that on August 15, 2012, it will offer relief from deportation for young immigrants who were brought to the country as minors and meet other specific requirements. The move, hailed by immigration advocates as a bold response to the broken immigration system, temporarily eliminates the possibility of deportation for youths who would qualify for relief under the DREAM Act, giving Congress the space needed to craft a bipartisan solution that gives permanent residence to qualifying young people.


Below is a Q&A guide outlining basic facts on deferred action, who is eligible, and important information on process and timing.


What is deferred action?

Deferred action means that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has determined that an individual is a low priority for immigration enforcement and has chosen to exercise its discretion and not deport the individual. Deferred action is a temporary relief from deportation. Deferred action is NOT amnesty or immunity. It does NOT provide a path to a green card or citizenship. It does NOT extend to any family members of the person granted deferred action.


Who will be eligible for deferred action?

People may apply for deferred action if they:

• came to the U.S. under the age of 16

• are under age 31

• have resided in the U.S. for five consecutive years as of June 15, 2012

• are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the armed forces

• have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor, or more than three misdemeanors; and

• do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.


How long does deferred action last?

Deferred action will be granted for two-year increments and must be renewed every two years. Deferred action can be terminated at any time at DHS's discretion. Can a person who is granted deferred action work legally in the U.S.? Yes, individuals with deferred action will be able to apply for work authorization and receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). There is a $380 fee to apply for an EAD. The EAD will also have to be renewed every two years.


How will the USCIS process for affirmatively obtaining deferred action work?

We do not know exactly how USCIS's process will work. We do know that individuals will have to provide documentation proving their age, when they came to the U.S., that they've been living in the U.S. for at least 5 years, and that they were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012. They will have to prove they are currently in school, graduated from high school, have a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the military. Individuals will also undergo a background check.


Who is eligible for deferred action now?

As of August 1, 2012, immigration agents have been directed not to place individuals into removal proceedings if they meet the above criteria.Those individuals will be granted deferred action and will therefore also be eligible for work authorization.


For those already in immigration proceedings, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will begin making determinations about deferred action immediately.


Should people who fit the criteria turn themselves into immigration?

NO. Eligible individuals who are not already in deportation proceedings SHOULD NOT turn themselves in. They should wait for an announcement of the formal application process.


Should I pay someone to get me deferred action?

There is currently no exact process to apply for deferred action. However, trusted attorneys and community based organizations may be starting to prepare clients to apply for deferred action. You may want to discuss your case with a lawyer now. Beware of scam artists, notarios, and others who guarantee they will obtain deferred action for you (for the right price) or who try to take advantage of the public. 


For further information, please do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Michael H. Markovitch.