Today, the Obama administration is implementing a new Deferred Action Program that the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) will administer. This program, which
operates as a form of prosecutorial discretion, offers young people
who are in the United States with no legal immigration status the
opportunity to avoid deportation for at least two years and to gain
The program is now open to individuals who: (1) were under the
age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; (2) came to the United States before
reaching their 16th birthday; (3) have continuously resided in the
United States since June 15, 2007; (4) were physically present in
the United States on June 15, 2012; (5) entered without inspection
before June 15, 2012, or had no lawful immigration status as of
June 15, 2012; (6) are currently in school, have graduated or
obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have
obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are
an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces
of the United States; and (7) have not been convicted of a felony,
significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, or do
not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
DHS published a helpful guide offering more in-depth guidance on the
eligibility requirements for deferred action. The American
Immigration Council also provides detailed guidance on eligibility
for the program here.
Those individuals who are 15 or older and not in immigration
detention may affirmatively apply for deferred action through
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Last
night, USCIS published the Form I-821D, to be used to request deferred
action. Applications for employment authorization may be submitted
concurrently with the request for deferred action. The cost for
both applications is $465, though certain individuals unable to
afford the fee may request an exemption.
The executive decision to offer deferred action comes two years
after the DREAM Act failed to pass a Senate vote. The DREAM Act
would have provided a path to permanent residence for thousands of
young people who were brought to the United States as children.
This diluted version of the DREAM Act does not provide a path to a
green card, citizenship, or any other permanent, legal status in
the United States. Decisions on deferred action will be made on a
case-by-case basis. Because the process is discretionary, there is
no appellate review.
Until the promises of the DREAM Act come before Congress again,
Mintz Levin will keep you updated on any developments to DHS's
Deferred Action Program.
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On March 8, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, bearing an edition date of March 8, 2013, for immediate use by employers.
A bipartisan group of eight U.S. senators has introduced the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, an 844-page bill that aims to bolster border security and seeks to provide some of the nation's 11 million undocumented people with a path to citizenship.