Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a new policy enacted on August 15th, 2012 to benefit undocumented youth in the United States. The policy offers eligible candidates a pardon from deportation and the opportunity to stay for 2 years with a work permit.
Deferred Action is a reaction to the failed DREAM Act and a milestone for DREAMers across America. Unlike the DREAM Act, Deferred Action unfortunately does not offer a path to a green card (permanent residence) or citizenship.
The DREAM Act is a failed program of modern legislation that was intended to serve undocumented young immigrants in the United States. The DREAM Act is an acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. The bill proposed to provide conditional green cards (permanent residency) to undocumented youth who met certain necessary requirements such as having a high school education and having come to the United States before the age of 16.
President Barack Obama promised complete immigration reform during his second term in office. Many DREAMers are hopeful his heartfelt promises will result in a real venue to becoming legally integrated into the United States.
How to Apply for Deferred Action
The Application for Deferred Action is Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. As a part of the process, Deferred Action applicants are required to provide documentation as proof of eligibility requirements. These requirements are:
- You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- You were brought to the United States before your 16th birthday;
- You have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007 up to present time;
- You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of filing your application;
- You are currently in school, have graduated high school, have obtained a GED, 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.
How to Apply for Deferred Action
If you meet the eligibility requirements listed under the "Overview" tab, then you may file Form I-821D for Deferred Action. The form will ask for mostly biographical information such as your date of birth and past addresses. Along with completing the form, you will have to provide documentation that proves you meet the eligibility requirements.
Listed below are all the requirements you must prove with documentation. Below each item there are examples of documents that would fulfill the requirement.
- Your identity:
- Copy of passport from your country of origin
- Birth certificate with photo ID
- School or military ID
- Proof you came to the United States before your 16th birthday:
- Passport with admission stamp
- School records
- Travel records
- Medical records
- Proof of immigration status (if you exceeded an initial legal time of stay)
- Form I-94 Record of Arrival/ Departure
- Order of exclusion or deportation
- Proof of Presence in the U.S. on and since June 15, 2012
- Rent or utility bills
- School records
- Tax receipts
- Date bank transactions
Deferred Action Work Permit
When Filing Form I-821D, you must also file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and Form I-765WS, Worksheet. These forms will allow you to obtain a work permit authorizing you to legally work in the United States for a period of 2 years subject to renewal.
What if I used a fake social security number to work?
You do not have to provide USCIS with any fake social security numbers you might have used in the past. According to USCIS, the only social security number you should provide is one that has been officially assigned to you. If you have not been assigned a legal and official social security number, simple write "N/A" (not applicable) on the line that asks for your social security number
What is unlawful presence?
Unlawful presence refers to the act of residing in the United States unlawfully - without a valid immigrant or nonimmigrant visa. One of the benefits of Deferred Action is that once you are approved for the policy, you will not accrue unlawful presence for the 2 years the policy is valid.
How long does the application process take?
The application process for Deferred Action is estimated to take several months. Each application is considered uniquely which makes the processing time significant.
What is a misdemeanor?
For the purpose of Deferred Action, a misdemeanor is considered a crime for which the maximum incarceration is less than one year. Insignificant misdemeanors such as traffic violations will not make you ineligible as long as you have 3 or less when applying.
A significant misdemeanor is defined as being related to domestic violence, sexual abuse, burglary, drug distribution and the like. Having been convicted of a significant misdemeanor may make you ineligible for Deferred Action.