Obama Administration finds a way to offer some relief to young immigrants via Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – DACA.
The good news this summer is that finally President Obama has found a way around the political impasse with Congress to give some relief to young people who were brought to the U.S. unlawfully by their parents. On June 15, 2012, DHS Secretary Napolitano issued a memorandum announcing that DHS will offer deferred action for two years to certain young people who came to the U.S. as children and meet other eligibility criteria. Individuals who receive deferred action will not be placed into removal proceedings or removed from the U.S. for the duration of the grant. Individuals in removal proceedings, those with final orders, and those who have never been in removal proceedings will be able to affirmatively request deferred action from USCIS.
According to USCIS FAQs released in August 2012, an individual who meets the following criteria may apply for deferred action:
- Was under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the U.S. before reaching his/her 16th birthday;
- Has continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Was physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and at the time of application to USCIS;
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- Is currently in school, has graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, has obtained a GED, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces; and
- Has not been convicted of a felony, a “significant misdemeanor,” three or more other misdemeanors, or does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety
USCIS began accepting applications on August 15, 2012. We urge all potential applicants to check with competent immigration counsel or attend one of the many clinics available in our area before making the decision to apply.