Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security announced on June 15th 2012 that with immediate effect, certain illegal or undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as young children, and do not pose a risk to national security or public safety, and meet the following criteria will not be deported from the United states.
Qualified individuals are required to show that:
1. They came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
2. They have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15th, 2012 and are present in the United States on June 15th 2012;
3. They are either currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general-education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
4. They have neither been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offense, nor in any other ways constitute a threat to national security or public safety;
5. They are not above the age of thirty as of June 15th,2012.
Illegal or undocumented immigrants who meet the above requirements will qualify for an exercise of discretion, called deferred action, which will be decided on a case by case basis.
Facts to note about Deferred Action
- Deferred action means delayed or postponed action. It simply notifies the illegal or undocumented immigrant that no action will be taken against him or her by the US Immigration authorities while in that status.
- Being granted deferred action neither changes the status of the illegal or undocumented immigrant, nor confer any Immigration status, or create a pathway to permanent residency/ green card or US citizenship.
- There is no guarantee that deferred action will be granted in every case.
- There is no right of appeal from a denial of an application for deferred action.
- Deferred action can be terminated by the Immigration Agencies at anytime.
- Dependent, e.g. spouses and children of qualified individuals will not be able to benefit unless they qualify on their own merit.
- If approved, deferred action will be granted for a period of two years with the possibility of renewal. In addition; they will qualify to apply for work authorization upon a showing of economic necessity.
- An approved work authorization will enable them to work legally in the US, obtain a social security number and a driver's license.
- Applicants whose applications are denied and have a criminal conviction or committed fraud and misrepresentation during the application process may be referred to Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) for deportation.
Application Process of Deferred Action
The implementation of the application process will begin within sixty days of June 15th 2012.
USCIS and ICE will in the coming weeks' outline the procedure for filing the Deferred action application.
For qualified individuals who are in deportation, ICE will promptly begin to offer them deferred action.
More information on the application process will be forthcoming from USCIS and ICE.
Election year perspective of Deferred Action
President Obama's administration indicated this is a temporary fix. What happens if the President is not re-elected? How will that affect the deferred action status?
Is this a political bait on the part of President Obama to win votes in the coming election? What is the guarantee that the President will come true on Immigration reform after November's election?
Lastly, Is this a reasonable temporary solution to the current Immigration gridlock?