Deferred Action New Program To Stop Deportations Of Young Immigrants

The Department of Homeland Security has released details and put into action a policy that stops deportation of some young immigrants. Immigration advocates are praising the deferred action program as a real-world implementation of some provisions contained in the DREAM Act.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published forms and instructions for the deferred action program, and began accepting applications on August 15. Immigrants under 30 who have immediate questions about deferred action as well as existing removal cases can learn about their immigration law rights from a deportation defense attorney.

The basic purpose behind the deferred action program is to suspend deportation for undocumented individuals who arrived in the U.S. as children. USCIS cautions potential applicants to fully understand the requirements for demonstrating eligibility, which include:

  • The applicant arrived in the U.S. before age 16 and is currently 30 or younger.
  • The applicant has continuously resided in the U.S. for at least five years prior to June 15, 2012, and is currently present in the U.S.
  • The applicant is either in school, has graduated from high school, has earned a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or has an honorable discharge from a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces or the Coast Guard.
  • The applicant does not have any felony convictions or a record of significant or multiple misdemeanor offenses.
  • The applicant does not pose any threats to public safety or national security.

When the deportation deferral program was announced in June by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, she announced that the executive branch intends to enforce U.S. immigration laws in a "firm and sensible manner." She also stated that deportation and removal laws should be enforced with discretion and consideration of individual circumstances, not to deport "productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language."

Potential applicants who are concerned about the effect of a minor criminal record or other factors such as detention or appeals of removal cases can review their options with an immigration lawyer. As the USCIS recently cautioned in a press release, immigration scams have already arisen regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals process. The agency warns young immigrants to be aware of the potential for being defrauded by unauthorized practitioners of immigration law and advises those who need legal help to seek out accredited immigration law services.