Did Obama recently pass an immigration amnesty or immigration reform?
Not really. On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced new immigration policy called "Deferred Action." Under this new policy, young illegal and undocumented aliens who came to the US under 16, either alone or with their parents, would receive "deferred action" status. Practically speaking, Deferred Action allows undocumented aliens to receive employment authorizations (work permits) and mandates the government to stop pending deportation proceedings against them and, as an added bonus, precludes the government from starting deportation proceedings against them.
When can I apply for Deferred Action?
Deferred Action application process has started on August 15, 2012.
Can I get a green card if I am eligible for Deferred Action?
Unfortunately, no. Good news is that you could receive an employment authorization or work permit. An employment authorization would qualify you for drivers license and social security number.
What are the Requirements to qualify for Deferred Action?
1. You must have arrived in the United States when you were under the age of 16;
2. Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years prior to June 15, 2012;
3. Were present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making a request for deferred action;
4. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
5. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security ; and
6. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.
7. Are above the age of 15, unless in removal proceedings.
Can I get a Driver's License if I qualify for a Deferred Action?
It depends on a state, but generally yes. In NY and NJ, once you get your Employment Authorization, Social Security Number and are in possession of other documents required by a 6 point system you should be able to get a Driver's License.
I am granted Deferred Action and employment authorization, how long would those be valid for?
Both Deferred Action and employment authorization, otherwise known as work permit will be issued in two year increments.
I am currently in deportation or removal proceedings. Could I benefit from Deferred Action?
Yes! There is an option which will stop these deportation proceedings.
I have a final order of removal. Could I still qualify for Deferred Action?
Yes. Aliens subject to final orders of removal will be eligible for Deferred Action.
I have a voluntary departure order. Could I still qualify for Deferred Action?
Yes. Aliens subject to voluntary departure orders will be eligible for Deferred Action.
Should I apply for Deferred Action as soon as possible?
That is absolutely right. If President Obama does not get re-elected in November 2012, it is extremely likely that the new President, Mitt Romney, upon taking the office in January 2013, would cancel Deferred Action. Such cancellation would not, however, apply retroactively. In other words, such cancellation will not travel back in time and apply to applications that were filed beforehand. Therefore, you must make sure to apply for Deferred Action benefits as soon as possible and certainly no later than December 2012.
What are the costs of Deferred Action?
The US government charges $465.00 to process your application which includes the application for work permit.
Attorneys charge between $500 and $1500.00 to handle the Deferred Action cases depending on complexity of your situation.