By Thomas Esparza, Immigration Specialist
On June 15, 2012, DHS announced that certain young people who entered the U.S.
before age 16 will no longer be removed from the United States. Qualifying individuals
will be granted “deferred action” and be eligible for a work permit.
Eligibility: In order to be eligible for deferred action, an individual must prove that he or
1) Was under 31 years old on June 15, 2012;
2) Came to the United States under the age of 16;
3) Has continuously resided in the United States for at least five years before June
15, 2012, and was physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
4) Is currently attending school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a
G.E.D. certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
or Coast Guard;
5) Has not been convicted of a felony offense, significant misdemeanor offense,
multiple misdemeanor offenses, nor otherwise poses a threat to the community or
Requests for deferred action will be reviewed on a case by case basis, and not every
young immigrant will qualify.
Individuals who are found to be ineligible due to criminal history or because they represent a danger to the community may be subject to removal or other immigration enforcement action.
DHS considers many misdemeanor offenses to be “significant misdemeanors,” including those for which the individual received no jail time. If you have ever been arrested by the police, talk to a qualified immigration attorney before applying for deferred action.