After years of organizing from undocumented youth, the Obama Administration has relented and granted immunity from deportation to certain young people in the United States without legal status.
The news comes on the heels of undocumented youth occupying Obama for America offices around the country, with requests for an executive order to stop the deportation of DREAM Act eligible youth.
The memo from DHS indicates that eligible applicants must:
• Be 15-30 years old, and have entered before age 16
• Have been present in the U.S. for 5 years as of June 15, 2012
• Have maintained continuous residence
• Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety;
• Are currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.
The deferred action offer will be available to those in proceedings as well as to those who apply affirmatively.
“Deferred action” will last for two years and can be renewed.
DHS has released a FAQ for those with more questions which is available here.
This process is not yet in effect and requests should not be submitted at this time. In the coming weeks, USCIS will outline and announce the procedures by which individuals can engage in this process. Beginning June 18, individuals may call the USCIS hotline at 1-800-375-5283, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with questions or to request more information on the new process. The hotline offers assistance in English and Spanish. Individuals seeking more information on the new process should visit USCIS’s website (at http://www.uscis.gov).
Individuals who believe they can demonstrate that they satisfy the eligibility criteria and are about to be removed should immediately contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center’s hotline at 1-855-448-6903 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday) or by e-mail at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.
Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she has resided in the United States for at five years immediately preceding June 15, 2012 includes, but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records.
Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she came to the United States before the age of 16 includes, but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records
A note of caution to everyone in removal proceedings who may be eligible for adjustment of status to that of a green card holder: if the deferred action is not renewed or Obama loses re-election, it may be difficult to initiate removal proceedings to get relief again. Please consult with your lawyer.