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Deferred Action Applications Accepted Beginning August 15, 2012

Posted by attorney JoAnn Barten

Department of Homeland Security announced today that it will begin accepting applications for Deferred Action August 15, 2012. The government filing fee will be $465 and includes employment authorization.

Some people fear that their information will be supplied to Immigration Enforcement for deportation. However, the announcement today says the information will be protected from being shared with Immigration Enforcement with a few exceptions. If the applicant is found to have lied on the application to obtain a work permit or the applicant has criminal convictions in their background which cause the applicant to be denied. In those situations, the applicant may be sent to immigration court.

Employment authorization is important for minor children even though they are not old enough to work because the work permit is required to apply for a social security number. The requirement of the work permit to apply for the social security number applies to minor children as well as adults. The criteria to qualify announced today is as follows:

1.) Under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;

2.) Came to the United States before the age of 16;

3.) Have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 until filing the application for Deferred Action;

4.) Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and still present in the United States;

5.) Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012 or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;

6.) Are enrolled in school on the date of submitting the request for deferred action, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, or general education (GED) certificate, or the military; and

7.) Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Age Requirement: The applicant must be at least 15 years of age to apply, so children who are under age will need to wait until they reach their 15th birthday to apply.

Education Requirement: For persons who would be eligible, but for the education they should enroll in high school or GED classes in their community at this time. They can apply when they are currently enrolled.

Travel Between June 15, 2007 – August 15, 2012: Only brief, casual, and innocent absences from the United States will not interrupt the five year continuous residence requirement. Travel will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Convictions: Convictions will be the most difficult part of Deferred Action process. A conviction will disqualify an applicant if it is punishable by imprisonment of more than one year. For example, in Iowa this would be any crime higher than a serious misdemeanor, such as an aggravated misdemeanor and all felonies. Furthermore, even a simple misdemeanor or serious misdemeanor would disqualify an applicant if the applicant served more than 90 day in jail. Finally, even if the applicant received only a fine or a deferred judgment for a simple or serious misdemeanor which involves domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, burglary, a firearm, drug trafficking, or a OWI Operating while Intoxicated, they cannot qualify. Potential applicants will want to have assistance vacating any disqualifying convictions from their records; expungement and deferred judgments will not avoid disqualification.

Prior Removal Orders: Applicants who are about to be deported or those with prior deportation, removal orders, or voluntary departure orders who meet the qualifications, may apply if they otherwise qualify under the guidelines.

Renewal Beyond 2 Years: If USCIS decides to continue the program, applicants can apply for extensions of Deferred Action and work authorization. Applicants may request an extension even if they turn 31 after June 15, 2012.

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