On June 15, 2012, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano issued memorandum to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and ICE explaining how prosecutorial discretion should be applied to individual people who came to U.S. as children. Specifically, certain young people who do not represent a risk to national security or public safety and meet specified criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for two years. This means the government will not seek to try and deport them for two years, subject to renewal. They will also be able to apply for work authorization. This builds on the previous and continuing policy of DHS to prioritize cases.
What is Deferred Action?
Deferred action is a discretionary decision by DHS not to purdue enforcement against a person for a specified period. Though an individual granted deferred action is considered by DHS to be lawfully present during the period of deferred action is in effect, it does NOT altar an individual’e existing immigration status or provide a path to citizenship. As a result cannot be used to establish eligibility for an immigration status that requires maintenance of lawful status. Deferred action, however may allow a person to qualify for certain state benefits, such as drivers license, though state requirements vary. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer had issued an executive order denying driver’s license for DACA authorizations. The order is being somewhat successfully challenged in the courts so far. We shall wait and see. You can check out his article for more reading. http://www.aclu.org/immigrants-rights/federal-court-says-arizona-violates-constitution-denying-drivers-licenses-dreamers
What are the eligibility requirements for Deferred Action (DACA) ?
To establish eligibility for DACA, individuals must demonstrate that they:
- Were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012;
- Arrived in the United States before turning 16 years of age
- Continuously Resided in the United States from June 15, 2007, to the present;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, as well as that the time of requesting deferred action from the USCIS;
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or any lawful immigration status expired on or before June 15, 2012;
- On the date of the request, are in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans from the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces;
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or thee or more other misdemeanors occurring on different dates and arising out of different acts, omissions, or schemes of misconduct, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety .
*Determinations are made on a case-by-case basis and are with the discretion of the USCIS.
May Individuals who receive deferred action be eligible to work?
Yes, they may after demonstrating to the USCIS an “economic necessity for employment.” An employment authorization application and worksheet should be filed concurrently with a DACA request. One must also to remember to apply to renew the work authorization when they apply to renew the deferred action request.