On June 15, 2012, the Obama administration, through Secretary for Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, announced deferred action for eligible youth to temporarily protect them from deportation. Persons who show eligibility would receive deferred action for a period of two years and will be eligible to apply for work permits. Those in removal proceedings as well as those not in removal proceedings will be eligible to apply for deferred action if they meet certain requirements.
Eligibility Requirements for Deferred Action
Persons meeting the following five criteria will be eligible to apply for deferred action:
- They must have arrived in the United States before they turned 16 years of age.
- They are not above 30 years of age.
- They have resided in the United States for 5 consecutive years prior to June 15, 2012 and were present in the country on June 15, 2012 (the date of the announcement).
- They are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained GED certification or they have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or the Armed Forces of the United States.
- They have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, multiple misdemeanor offenses, and they must not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Check now if you are eligible for Deferred Action!
The Deferred Action Process
Deferred action uses a process referred to as ‘prosecutorial discretion ‘. Using prosecutorial discretion, immigration authorities may stop deportation proceedings against eligible undocumented youth.
- Undocumented youth who were never in removal proceedings may directly apply with the USCIS for deferred action.
- Those who are in removal proceedings may request a review of their case by the ICE officials. This category also includes those whose cases were already considered by ICE for prosecutorial discretion but not approved.
- Youth who were issued removal orders before the announcement on June 15, 2012 may file for deferred action and ask that they not be put in removal proceedings.
Whichever the category that the person falls into, they need to apply only at the right time. USCIS has announced that the application procedures will begin within 60 days of the June 15th announcement.
What Happens With Deferred Action
Deferred action is temporary protection from deportation and lasts for two years. Before the end of the two years, individuals can apply for a renewal after getting their cases reviewed by the agencies. When granted deferred action an individual can also apply for work authorization.
What Does Not Happen With Deferred Action
People granted deferred action are only given protection from removal proceedings for two years and allowed to apply for work permits. They cannot apply for and will not be considered for green cards or citizenship.
Who Is Not Eligible for Deferred Action
Those individuals will not be eligible for deferred action who:
- do not meet the five eligibility criteria mentioned above.
- cannot provide documentation to prove they meet the above mentioned criteria.
- are not in the United States at present and cannot prove that they lived in the United States for at least 5 years immediately prior to June 15, 2012.
Individuals are requested not to make pleas for deferred action at the moment, but to wait for further announcements in this regard from the USCIS. They are also advised not to apply for work permits under this process as yet.