Recently there have been some major changes in the immigration laws and the possibility of the making part of the Dream Act come true. These new changes are aimed at keeping kids who were brought into the country illegally from being deported to countries they may have never lived in. But what exactly are the changes and how might they affect you? Read on to find out.
- There are a few requirements to qualify to receive deferred action (we’ll explain “deferred action” in a minute).
To qualify you will have to:
- 1) Complete a background check
- 2) Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen
- 3) Have continuously lived in the United States since, at the least, May 2007
- 4) Have been present in the United States when the new deportation laws were announced
- 5) Have to be in school or graduated from high school or obtained a general education development certificate (GED) or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States
- 6) Have to have a clean record: no convictions of a felony offense, no significant misdemeanor offenses, no multiple misdemeanor offenses. You can’t pose a threat to national security or public safety.
- 7) Be under the age of 31.
What Can It Do For Me?
- If you meet the above requirements, congratulations! You could be on track to receive a worker’s visa and maybe permanent residence.
Here’s how it works:
- 1) You Can Get Deferred Action: Another word for “deferred” is to “hold off” or “delay”. Deferred action simply means any legal action that was pending on you will be delayed, in this case, for two years. This includes actions like removal proceedings and deportations.
- 2) You Can Get Employment Authorization: In the meantime, according to USCIS’s memo, you will be eligible for employment authorization for the period the deferred action is in effect.
How Do I Do It?
First and foremost, get an immigration attorney! There is a lot of paperwork and protocol and too much on the line for you to try this yourself. Find a good immigration attorney to help you make the most of this opportunity smoothly and successfully. Secondly, this is a brand new development and not all the exact processes have been released. What we know now is there are three groups of people:
- 1) If you are not in removal proceedings OR you are subject to a final order of removal: You will need to submit a request for USCIS to review your case. If you meet the requirements listed above you can request deferred action. This process is not running yet so you can’t submit requests right now. The best you can do is
- a) start calling USCIS or your attorney for more information beginning June 18. The number to call is 510-742-5887
- b) Check out USCIS’s website for more information at http://www.uscis.gov
- 2) If you are in removal proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review: In the next few weeks ICE will announce the process for you. Until then, you can:
- a) Start calling ICE beginning June 18.
- b) Visit ICE’s website for more information at http://www.ice.gov/about/offices/enforcement-removal-operations/publicadvocate/
- 3) If you are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as eligible by ICE through their case-by-case review: You’re in the clear! According to USCIS’s memo, “ICE will immediately begin to offer deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.”
Things to remember
Remember, deferred action does not immediately equal lawful status and does not absolve any previous periods of unlawful presence. It just means legal action against you has been held off for two years and you can live in America without adding to your period of unlawful presence.
For more details and some frequently asked questions, check out USCIS’s memo posted online here: