Protection for Undocumented Youth, Obama’s new policy
On June 15, 2012, the Obama Administration announced that it would offer many DREAM Act-eligible youths protection from deportation. These youths, whether or not they are currently in deportation proceedings, will be able to apply for “deferred action,” which would temporarily shield them from deportation and enable to live and work legally in the US.
Five criteria to be met
- They must have come to the US before they turned 16;
- They must have not yet turned 30 when they apply;
- They must have continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007, and must have been present in the US on June 15, 2012;
- They must currently be in school, have received a high school diploma or GED, or been honorably discharged from the US Armed Forces or the Coast Guard;
- They must not have been convicted of a felony, a “significant misdemeanor,” multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. Anyone applying for deferred action would need to go through a criminal background check.
Anyone who wants to apply should seek help only from immigration attorneys or non-profit organizations that work on immigration matters.
Find a free legal clinic in Chicago where you can get help filing your application.
What deferred action involves
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals(DACA) is a form of protection that lasts two years. Anyone who gets deferred action would be able to get it renewed, but she would need to reapply near the end of the two years and have her case reviewed again. Someone who gets deferred action can apply for a work permit. DHS is also considering whether to allow travel outside the US. Deferred action does NOT put someone on track to get a green card or US citizenship.
How the process will work
Youths who are in deportation proceedings will be able to ask ICE to review their cases and grant them deferred action. The policy applies to youths whose cases ICE already considered for prosecutorial discretion but did not approve.
Youths who are arrested by ICE or Customs and Border Protection (including those being detained) will be able to ask the agency to not put them into deportation proceedings.
Youths who are not in deportation proceedings will be able to apply to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for deferred action. This process will also be available to those who already have final removal orders. USCIS should open this application process within 60 days (by mid-August).
For more information, contact:
United African Organization
3424 S. State Street, Suite 3C8-2
Chicago, IL 60616