The USCIS has released news on August 3, 2012 that it will begin accepting requests for consideration of deferred action beginning August 15, 2012. The Department of Homeland Security provided additional information on the deferred action for childhood arrivals process during a national media call in preparation for the August 15 implementation date. On June 15, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that certain young people who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines may be eligible, on a case-by-case basis, to receive deferred action. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is finalizing a process by which potentially eligible individuals may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals.
To establish their eligibility for deferred action under the new memorandum, individuals must provide “verifiable documentation” showing that they: Arrived in the United States when they were under the age of 16; Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years prior to June 15, 2012, and were present in the United States on June 15, 2012 (the date of the memorandum); Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces; Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and Are not above the age of 30.
In the case of those who are not in removal proceedings or removed in the past, must also have reached the age of 15 years at the time of filing the application for deferred action and work permit. Initially it was informed that only after approval of the application for deferred action the application for work permit can be filed. But new information provides that both the application for deferred action and work permit need to be filed together with the required filing fee for each application including the biometric fee with all supporting documents evidence and documents to prove that the applicant meets the above eligibility requirements.
USCIS expects to make all forms, instructions, and additional information relevant to the deferred action for childhood arrivals process available on August 15, 2012. USCIS will then immediately begin accepting requests for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals.
Information shared during today’s call includes the following highlights:
.Requestors – those in removal proceedings, those with final orders, and those who have never been in removal proceedings; – will be able to affirmatively request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals with USCIS.;
.Requestors will use a form developed for this specific purpose.
.Requestors will mail their deferred action request together with an application for an employment authorization document and all applicable fees to the USCIS lockbox.
.All requestors must provide biometrics and undergo background checks.
.Fee waivers cannot be requested for the application for employment authorization and biometric collection. However, fee exemptions will be available in limited circumstances.
.The four USCIS Service Centers will review requests.
Deferred action is a discretionary DHS decision not to pursue enforcement against a person for a specific period of time. A grant of deferred action does not confer any lawful immigration status or alter an individual’s existing immigration status or grant amnesty leading to permanent resident status or citizenship. It is just deferring or postponing the deportation of such individuals and allowing them to stay and work in United States by issuing the work permits. While deferred action does not cure any prior period of unlawful presence, time in deferred action status is considered a period of stay authorized by the Secretary of DHS, but not having any legal status. An individual does not accrue unlawful presence for purposes of INA § 212(a)(9)(B) and (C)(i)(I) while in deferred action status. However, deferred action cannot be used to establish eligibility for any immigration benefit that requires maintenance of lawful status. A grant of deferred action can be renewed or terminated at any time by the DHS.
Applicants eligible for seeking for deferred action must document three aspects of their physical presence and residence in the United States, namely, (1) entered the United States before they reached age 16; (2) have continuously resided in the country for at least five years preceding the date of the memorandum; and (3) were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012. Individuals are not eligible for deferred action if they have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. A “felony offense” includes any federal, state or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for more than one year. Thus, some state misdemeanor offenses may be characterized as felonies for purposes of the new memorandum. A “significant misdemeanor” includes any federal, state or local criminal offense punishable by up to one year of imprisonment or even no imprisonment and involving violence, threats, or assault, including domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary, larceny, or fraud; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; obstruction of justice or bribery; unlawful flight from arrest, prosecution, or the scene of an accident; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or unlawful possession of drugs.
Additional information regarding the Secretary’s June 15 announcement will be made available on www.uscis.gov on August 15, 2012. It is important to note that this process is not yet in effect and individuals who believe they meet the guidelines of this new process should not request consideration of deferred action before August 15, 2012. Requests submitted before August 15, 2012 will be rejected. Individuals who believe they are eligible should be aware of immigration scams. Unauthorized practitioners of immigration law may try to take advantage of people by charging a fee to submit forms to USCIS on your behalf. You should contact experienced immigration attorneys who are members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) to review your case and file your applications by seeking legal advice.