President Announces Administrative Relief to DREAMers
On June 15th the Administration announced that it will stop deporting DREAM Act-eligible youth. In addition, it will use its authority to grant, on a case-by-case basis, deferred action status valid for two years. At the end of that two-year period, deferred action can be renewed. Those granted deferred action will be eligible for work authorization for the duration of deferred action. Aliens who meet the following criteria can qualify for this relief:
- Entered the United States before the age of 16 and have not yet turned 30
- Have continuously lived in the United States for at least five years preceding June 15, 2012 and were residing in the United States on that date
- Are currently in school, have graduated from high school or obtained a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces
- Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, three or more minor misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Aliens currently in removal proceedings or subject to a final order of removal can still qualify for deferred action, as are those who accepted administrative closure or whose case was terminated. Those who meet the above eligibility criteria and who are encountered by CBP or ICE officials should be able to stop further enforcement actions based on the agency’s prosecutorial discretion criteria. ICE and USCIS personnel responsible for considering requests for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion will receive special training on this new process.
Possible documentation of entry to the United States before the age of 16, physical presence on June 15, 2012, and five years of residence could include financial, medical, school, employment, and military records. Possible documentation of current enrollment in school, graduation from high school, or GED could include diplomas, GED certificates, report cards, and school transcripts. Brief and innocent departures will not preclude a finding of five years of U.S. residence.
The Administration indicated that applicants for deferred action will need to complete a background check. Deferred action is a discretionary grant that does not lead to permanent resident status, but does allow the recipient to qualify for employment authorization if he or she can demonstrate “an economic necessity.” It is not clear at this time whether those granted deferred action will be eligible for advance parole and thus would be able to leave and return to the United States.
There is no appeal of a denial of deferred action. Applicants will receive some form of supervisory review, however. The agency is developing protocols on that that review standard and procedure. Those who are denied will be subject to potential enforcement and issuance of a Notice to Appear if they have committed certain criminal offenses or there is a finding of fraud in their request.
Relatives of the alien granted deferred action are not eligible for any derivative benefits if they do not satisfy the criteria.
The Administration indicated that it will issue further details on the application process, the fee, and the recommended documentary proof. The application process is not in effect as of June 18th. CLINIC will keep you informed as we know further details.