Today, the Bureau of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced the process for filing for requesting deferred action for aliens who arrived as children. The Obama Administration-had previously announced a deferred action process for young aliens considered low enforcement priorities on June 15, 2012. Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Deferred action is not the DREAM Act. It is important to remember that deferred action does not confer lawful status upon an individual. It does not provide a path to lawful permanent residence and/ or United States citizenship.
An individual may request consideration for deferred action if you meet the following criteria:
- You were under the age of thirty-one (31) as of June 15, 2012;
- You came to the United States prior to reaching your sixteenth birthday;
- You have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007 through the present time;
- You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of filing your request for consideration of deferred action with the Bureau of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;
- You entered the United States without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- You are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Aliens who demonstrate that they meet the above guidelines may request consideration for deferred action for childhood arrivals for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and may be eligible for employment authorization.
To request deferred action, you must file Form I-821D Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This Form must be supported by evidence to establish you meet the above-referenced criteria. There is no fee for the Form I-821D Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. However, applicants will be required to pay a biometrics servicing fee of $85.00. If you wish to request employment authorization, you must also file a Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization and Form I-765WS Worksheet. You will need to pay a filing fee of $380.00 to file a Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization.
While deferred action can be beneficial for some aliens, it is important to remember that deferred action does not confer lawful status upon an alien and can be terminated at any time at the Department of Homeland Security's discretion. Only Congress, through the enactment of legislation, can create a path to lawful permanent residence status or citizenship. Deferred action does not provide a permanent solution to young aliens present in the United States without lawful status. As such, it is important to discuss your unique facts with an experienced immigration attorney prior to applying for deferred action.