Deferred Action for Young Undocumented Immigrants
On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced a new policy to put deportations of certain younger immigrants on hold and allow qualified individuals to obtain a renewable Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and a social security number.
What the Deferred Action program is and isn’t
Deferred Action is not an amnesty program. It will not provide anyone with legal immigration status or a path to legal status. Only legislative action (such as passage of The Dream Act) can provide such a path to those who are qualified. And, since the Deferred Action policy stems from a Presidential Order, it is possible that a future President could end the program. Moreover, the program does come with certain risks [link to Risks page – see below] that applicants need to understand.
Deferred Action is not a law but a policy. The law already allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to use their judgment when dealings with immigrants who do not pose a risk to national security or public safety. Now, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has specifically directed ICE to refrain from placing people who are eligible for Deferred Action into removal proceedings or removing them from the U.S.
Many approved applicants will be able to use their EAD and social security number to apply for a driver’s license. However, this will entirely depend upon the law of their state of residence. To understand the documents required for a driver’s license in your state, you can call the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or visit its website.
When will Deferred Action be available?
The new program has already gone into effect for those who have a final order of deportation or are in deportation proceedings. However, the vast majority of those eligible for Deferred Action have never been in deportation proceedings. Currently, DHS is developing a process for these young people to apply for their EAD. More information is expected on or before August 15, 2012.
As with any application for an immigration benefit, a criminal background check will be conducted by DHS as part of their decision process. For that purpose, every applicant will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment where their fingerprints, photograph and electronic signature will be taken.
It is impossible to say now how long it will take DHS to make a final decision once an application has been approved. There is likely to be a very large number of applications during the program’s first few months, and each case will be individually considered on its own merits.
What can I do now?
While the Deferred Action process is being developed, those who believe they qualify should:
|♦||Consult with an immigration attorney to confirm eligibility, identify any potential issues or risks, and identify the specific documents you will need to send with your application;|
|♦||Initiate an FBI background check to obtain a list of arrests or verify that your criminal record is clean;|
|♦||Begin gathering the right documents to establish your eligibility under each of the specified criteria.|
If you would like to receive further information on the Deferred Action program when it is available, please contact Immigration Law Associates and provide your name, phone number and/or email address.
If you have specific questions about your eligibility, or believe you are eligible and would like to begin gathering documents, please call us at 847-763-8500 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys.