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Deferred Action for DREAM Immigrants

Posted by attorney Katy Chavez

There are many questions about Obama's new Deferred Action Program. If you are between 15 and 30 years old and have been in the US for at least 5 years, and since before turning 16 you may be able to get a work permit. We used to call you DREAM youth. Although this is not the DREAM Act, it s a temporary measure that will help DREAM youth. Do I have to be in Deportation\Removal to apply: No. Those that have never been in removal will be able to apply to USCIS, probably by submitting a form with their proofs. Do I have to be from Mexico? No. You can be from any country, and you can have entered illegally or with a visa. If I am denied can I be deported? It is possible. If you apply and you have a criminal record, you may get denied and then deported. Similarly, if you have committed immigration fraud in the past, or you lie in the application, you can be denied and deported. For these reasons it is very important that an attorney review your case. For example, if you have three convictions for driving without a license, you can be denied. Can I apply if I have a spouse or children? Yes, USCIS has not said that benefits are only available to unmarried applicants or those without children. In fact, they have specifically said that benefits are not available through the program for the spouses and children, indicating that they do not plan to exclude married immigrants nor parents. Can I apply if I never graduated high school? You will need to either enroll in school or get your GED. However you can still apply after you get your GED even if you did not have it on June 15, 2012. Can I apply if I entered when I was 15 and I have been here for 18 years? No. The program is limited to those that are UNDER 31. Can I apply if I am under 15? Not unless you are in removal. If you are not currently in removal you will need to wait until you turn 15 before you can submit the application. If Romney gets elected will I lose my work permit? We do not know of the program will end if Romney gets elected, but he will have the power to immiediately end the program, and to even deny those that have applications pending. Work permits that have already been issues should still be valid until they expire in two years. But those applications still pending may never get approved. If my wife is a US Citizen, and I am currently applying for residency through the consular process (where I need to leave the country), can I still use the program? Yes, USCIS has not indicated that it will not grant work permits to those that are also in the process of applying for other types of relief. Does a person have to live in North Carolina for you to help? No, I can help people no matter where they live, as long as they were in the United States on June 15, 2012. When can we apply? The beginning date to submit applications will be in midAugust, but you should begin working on your case right away, because it will be so important to apply early to avoid losing your opportunity in the case that Romney is elected. You should contact us as soon as possible. Is this the DREAM Act? No, this is a temporary measure created by changing the policy within USCIS and ICE. THe DREAM act would be a new law. The DREAM Act would have led to permanent residency. This Deferred Action will only offer a work permit and will not lead to residency. With residency a person is guaranteed to be able travel outside the country, and study at in-state rates. We still hope that the DREAM Act will be passed so that young people will not need to plan their lives just two years at a time. Will I be able to go to college if I am approved? Many schools will currently allow anyone to study there regardless of immigration status. However most public colleges in the country will charge very high out-of-state rates for those without immigration status, and will not grant financial aid. We hope that most states will choose to grant in-state tuition to those that have been approved for Deferred Action. That decision would be up to each state, however, and there is no guarantee. However, if the DREAM Act were passed, then those that were approved would be able to attend schools in the place they reside at in-state rates.

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