What is Deferred Action, and is it the DREAM many were hoping for?

Aug. 6, 2012

What is Deferred Action, and is it the DREAM many were hoping for?

On June 15, 2012, the U.S. government announced a new program to provide some relief for immigrants who came to the United States as children, and who are currently without documentation. Although many are calling it the “DREAM law,” it is not actually the DREAM Act that Congress has been fighting over for years, nor is it really even a law at all. Rather, the new program is an executive order from the Obama Administration, and its official name is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (D.A.C.A.).

Immigrants who qualify for D.A.C.A. will not necessarily receive any kind of status, such as permanent residency or citizenship, but should find at least some relief knowing that they will not be deported during a two-year period, which can be renewed at the end of those two years. Those individuals who qualify may also be eligible to apply for a work permit, as well as a driver’s license in certain states.

To qualify, individuals must:

1. be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 20122. be 15 years old or older at the time of filing the request (this requirement has some exceptions if the individual is in deportation proceedings)3. have come to the U.S. before reaching 16 years old4. have continuous physical presence in the U.S. for five years preceding June 15, 20125. have either graduated from high school, obtained a GED, or are in school currently, or be a U.S. military veteran with an honorable discharge6. not have any felony convictions, significant misdemeanor convictions, or have three or more total misdemeanor convictions

The USCIS (United States Citizens and Immigration Services) will begin taking D.A.C.A. cases on August 15, 2012. The filing forms will not be available until that day. After submission of the forms and supporting evidence, individuals will undergo fingerprinting and a background check. This should not concern immigrants, however, as ICE has stated that it has no intention of using information from the applicant’s forms, fingerprints, or background check to initiate deportation against any immigrants involved in the process.

Our firm has already been receiving many calls from individuals seeking to file under D.A.C.A. We are here to help you determine if you qualify for D.A.C.A., and to assist you with the complex immigration procedure.