Deferred Action for DREAMers Explained

On June 15, 2012, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano officially announced that the DHS has a new policy to grant relief from removal to certain undocumented immigrants and grant them authorization to legally work in the United States. This new policy has been referred to as the DREAMer Deferred Action program. If you have questions about the DREAMer Deferred Action program, the attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA have decades of combined experience in immigration law. Contact us for a consultation.

How do I qualify?

The Department of Homeland Security has said it will look at each person's set of circumstances on a case by case basis. If you are an individual who entered the United States without authorization, you may qualify for deferred action so long as you meet all of the following criteria:

  1. You must have entered the United States while under age the age of sixteen;
  2. You must have continuously lived in the United States since June 15, 2007, and were present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
  3. You must be currently in school, graduated from high school, obtained a GED certificate, or have an honorable discharge of the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces;
  4. You must not have a felony conviction, a significant misdemeanor conviction, multiple misdemeanor convictions, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
  5. You must not be above thirty years of age.

What exactly does the DREAMer Deferred Action program do?

The policy addresses many of the benefits that would have been available to young immigrants under the DREAM Act, had it become law. According to the Department of Homeland Security, so long as you are an undocumented immigrant who meets the policy's criteria, the government will not seek to deport you. Deferrals are available for two-year periods, with possible renewal. If you are receiving deferrals, may also obtain employment authorization during the deferral period. The DREAMer Deferred Action program will not grant you a visa or legal immigration status, per se. But it could give you protection against removal and give you permission to work legally in the United States.

Why was the DREAMer Deferred Action program created?

DHS Secretary Napolitano has said that it should not be DHS policy to remove young people from the United States who are productive and send them back to countries where they may not have lived in very long and may not even be able to understand the language. Secretary Napolitano said the department will enforce U.S. immigration law in a firm and sensible manner, but she also pointed out that DHS will not blindly enforce the law without giving consideration to each person's individual circumstances.

How do I apply?

The government has not yet set up a procedure for submitting applications. However, it is expected that one will be announced by August 15, 2012. If you have questions about the DREAMer Deferred Action program, please contact our immigration attorneys or call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to consult with an attorney.

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