On Friday June 15 President Obama took decisive executive action to provide administrative relief to a broad category of young undocumented immigrants-often referred to as “DREAMers”.
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, individuals who satisfy the following requirements and are in imminent danger of deportation will have their deportation procedure terminated.
WITHIN SIXTY DAYS, the Immigration Service will establish procedures for those not already in deportation proceedings to apply for “Deferred Action.” This is, in effect, a quasi-legal status which will allow qualified applicants to come out of the shadows and obtain an employment authorization document (EAD) valid for two years and renewable in two year increments.
The President emphasized that this program does not (at this time) provide a “green card” or a “path to citizenship.” This would require Congressional action.
The criteria set forth by the Immigration Service are as follows:
- You must have come to the U.S. before your 16th birthday.
- You must have resided continuously in the U.S. (with a few exceptions) for five years preceding June 15, 2012 and be present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012.
- You must not have reached your 30th birthday.
- You must be currently in school or have graduated from a high school or with a GED, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. armed forces or coast guard.
- You must not have a serious criminal record.
No application for Deferred Action can be submitted until the Service announces the procedure. However, it is not too soon to identify and safeguard documents which will be required.
First, proof of arrival in the U.S. is crucial. For those who have a passport, in their own name, with a Form I-94 or U.S. Immigration arrival stamp, this criterion will be satisfied.
Secondly, applicants will need proof of continuous residence. School, employment, or medical records are the best evidence.
Third, applicants will need proof of compliance with the educational (or military service) criteria.
Many qualified applicants will lack easily available documentation. These individuals will benefit from the services of a qualified immigration attorney who can assist in identifying and gathering useful evidence. Care should be taken to avoid notarios or other unqualified individuals who may seek to take advantage of the process and encourage the filing of improperly or inadequately documented applications.
Our office has extensive experience with the preparation of cases requiring this kind of evidence. We were actively involved in the 1986 Amnesty program, helping hundreds of families acquire legal status. We developed the skills, strategies, and techniques to prove the elements required for a successful case.
We'll be monitoring the implementation of this program and will issue updates as appropriate.
Please feel free to contact our office with any questions, and to pass this information along to any who may benefit from it.