Based on a memo from the Obama Administration dated June 15, 2012, a new policy will be effective immediately; certain young people who were brought to the United States through no fault of their own as young children and who meet specific qualifications will not be removed from the United States or sent to the Immigration Court for removal proceedings. Those who can present evidence that they qualify will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.
Individuals who wish to apply for this benefit will be required to prove through verifiable documentation that they are eligible for deferred action. Applicants will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today’s date.
The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights. While this guidance takes effect immediately, USCIS and ICE expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days.
Who will be eligible to receive deferred action under the new policy?
Pursuant to the Secretary’s June 15, 2012 memorandum, in order to be eligible for deferred action young immigrants must:
1.) Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen through no fault of their own;
2.) Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding June 15, 2012 and be present in the United States,
3.) Currently be in school, have graduated from high school or have obtained a general education
We will not know exactly how the government intends to implement this policy until it actually occurs. However, we may draw some conclusions;
1) To take advantage of the new policy a young person is going to need to report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or another agency the government may appoint. This will require that a person come out of hiding and report their status and possibly provide other family information.
2) The wording, “through no fault of their own," indicates that the young people – usually young men – who came to the United States on their own and in order to find work, will not be eligible.
3) The term, “deferred," does not mean that the immigrant has been granted any form of status in the USA. It means that removal proceedings could be implemented in the future. The policy specifically requires that a person re register after 2 years. The status to be granted a qualifying applicant under this policy sounds similar to Temporary Protective Status (TPS).
4) Prosecutorial Discretion means that the government chooses not to refer a person to removal proceedings at this time. There is no indication that this policy will grant any permanent relief.
5) It can be assumed that persons who have been convicted of a CMT, AF, and in some instances other crimes such as DUI and minor drug possession may not be eligible.
Regardless of the foregoing, the positive aspects of this policy are greater than any possible negatives consequences. Persons who qualify will be eligible for employment authorization, to go to school and get a driver license.
Individuals seeking more information on the new policy should contact the Mulder Law Office, P.A.. We will be monitoring this policy and preparing to assist young people immediately upon implementation.