Dream Act Announcement by President Obama

OnJune 15, 2012 the Department of Homeland Security formally announced that it will offer deferred action to “DREAMers.” For all the promising undocumented youth who call America home this represents the opportunity to come out of the shadows and fully embrace the only country they know. AILA embraces this bold action provide relief and enable these young people to actively contribute to our society and economy.

Eligible individuals 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, a significant misdemeanor or multiple minor misdemeanors
•    Be currently in school, graduated or have a GED, or is an honorably discharged veteran

The deferred action offer will be available to those in proceedings, as well as to those who apply affirmatively.

What is deferred action?

Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Deferred action does not confer lawful status upon an individual. In addition, although an alien granted deferred action will not be considered to be accruing unlawful presence in the United States during the period deferred action is in effect, deferred action does not absolve individuals of any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence. Under existing regulations, an individual who has been granted deferred action is eligible to receive employment authorization for the period of deferred action, provided he or she can demonstrate “an economic necessity for employment.”  Deferred action can be terminated at any time at the agency’s discretion or renewed by the agency.

How will the new directive be implemented?

Individuals who are not in removal proceedings or who are subject to a final order of removal will need to submit a request for a review of their case and supporting evidence to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Individuals may request deferred action if they meet the eligibility criteria.  In the coming weeks, USCIS will outline and announce the procedures by which individuals can engage in this process.  This process is not yet in effect and requests should not be submitted at this time.  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.

For individuals who are in removal proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, ICE will, in the coming weeks, announce the process by which qualified individuals may request a review of their case.  Additional information is available from the ICE Office of the Public Advocate.

June 18, individuals may call the ICE hotline at 1-888-351-4024, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with questions or to request more information on the new process.   For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria as part of ICE’s case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.



Eliana Phelps

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