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Can Deferred Action be a Path to US Citizenship

Deferred action status will permit eligible undocumented youth to stay back in the country legally and it will defer their deportation for a two year period. However, all the undocumented immigrants may not be granted deferred action status and a variety of eligibility requirements must be met by the undocumented youth, who apply for deferred action status and only the eligible applicants will be granted deferred action status. An undocumented youth who receives deferred action status will also be granted an employment authorization document, with which he can work in the country legally, as long as he maintains his deferred action status. But deferred action cannot be a path to US citizenship.

To qualify, an undocumented immigrant must be below age 31 and above 15 and must have got into the country as a minor. Individuals who do not pose a threat to the national security and who are not a priority for deportation, may be granted deferred action status and this deferred action status is renewable and the undocumented immigrants who receive deferred action can renew their status at the end of the two year period. Some American states also permit the deferred action recipients to obtain driver’s licenses and financial aid for education.

To apply for deferred action status, an undocumented immigrant must establish that he has been living in America for the past five years and that he is currently in school or that he is a high school graduate. Likewise, honorably discharged veterans who meet the other eligibility requirements also can apply for deferred action status. However, all the deferred action applicants must establish that they were brought to the country before they turned 16 and they must have maintained good moral character and this is one of the most important requirements.

Applicants must submit acceptable documentation to prove that they meet the key criteria for deferred action status. If they are found to be eligible for this temporary status, they will be granted deferred action status and renewable work permits. These employment authorization documents will permit them to legally work in America for a two year period. Many believe that the deferred action recipients will be legalized and that they will become eligible for US citizenship and this is not true. Deferred action status is good only for a two year period and the deferred action recipients will not be granted legal status and they can only remain in the country legally and deferred action is not a pathway to US citizenship.

But deferred action is renewable, so the deferred action recipients may not be deported at the end of the two year period and they can apply for renewal and remain in America for two more years. A long term solution for these undocumented immigrants will be created if immigration reform is passed. Likewise, DREAM Act, one of the controversial acts, if passed, would legalize the undocumented immigrants and grant them US citizenship. If this Act is passed, eligible undocumented immigrants would be legalized and a pathway to US citizenship for the qualified undocumented immigrants would be created.

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