Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Today the USCIS unveiled the new forms that must be completed by eligible individuals seeking deferred action. As promised in its June 15th memorandum, starting tomorrow qualified applicants will be able to apply for deferred action and employment authorization. Deferred action is not an immigration status but an acknowledgment from the USCIS that an individual is a low priority risk and presently USCIS has no interest in commencing removal proceedings against that person. As such, it does afford a certain level of protection and peace of mind for those who are granted the privilege. The accompanying employment authorization permits unrestricted lawful employment in all states. So who will benefit from this new change in policy? Simply put, the people who came to the United States as children and who completed high school and have kept out of trouble with the law.

The criteria for eligibility are as follows:
* applicant must have come to the US before his or her 16th birthday
* applicant must currently be in school, must have completed high school, obtained a GED or be a veteran of the armed forces
* applicant must have been continuously present in the US since June 15, 2007
* applicant must have been physically present in the US on June 15, 2012
* applicant must be at least 15 years old
* applicant must be born after June 15, 1981
* applicant must not have been convicted of any significant misdemeanor, three minor misdemeanors or any type of felony

Those individuals who meet the above criteria will be able to mail their applications along with supporting evidence, photos and filing fees to the appropriate USCIS lock box facility, depending on their state of current residence. As always, the grant of deferred action is a discretionary matter and applicants must prove eligibility and warrant favorable discretion. Advice of qualified immigration counsel is always a good idea, especially in new matters where the policy is being tested.

Once deferred action and employment authorization are approved, the individual will be able lo obtain a social security card and then a state-issued driver’s license.

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