Based on the Secretary of Homeland Security’s June 15th, 2012 announcement, applicants for deferred action for childhood arrivals must show among other requirements that they are either:
1.currently in school,
2.have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school,
3.have obtained a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or
4.are honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.
What it means to be “In School” For Deferred Action purpose.
What exactly United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) considers being “in school” isn’t as straightforward as it seems. It is not just the definition of “in school” that’s important but also what USCIS defines the actual idea of “school” to be.
According to USCIS “in school” means…
being enrolled in public or private elementary school, junior high or middle school, high school, or secondary school.
being enrolled in an education, literacy, or career-training program (including vocational training) that is designed to lead to placement in postsecondary education, job training, or employment.
being enrolled in an education program assisting students either in obtaining a regular high school diploma or its recognized equivalent under state law (including a certificate of completion, certificate of attendance, or alternate award), or in passing a General Educational Development (GED) exam or other equivalent state-authorized exam.
Evidence to show an applicant for Deferred Action is currently enrolled in school.
Documents required to show that an applicant for Deferred Action is currently in school include:
a. Acceptance letters,
b. School registration cards,
c. Letters from school or program,
e. Report cards, or
f. Progress reports showing the name of the school or program, date of enrollment, and current educational or grade level.
Qualified Schools, Educational, Literacy or Career Training Programs for Deferred Action Purpose.
- Qualified education, literacy, or career training programs include,
- Programs funded, in whole or in part, by federal or state grants/contributions.
Programs funded by other sources (such as the private sector) if administered by providers of demonstrated effectiveness, meaning programs which have shown their competence and effectiveness. such as institutions of higher education, including community colleges, and certain community-based organizations.
In assessing the demonstrated effectiveness of programs not funded in whole or in part by federal or state grants USCIS will consider:
- The duration of the program’s existence;
- The program’s track record in assisting students in obtaining a regular high school diploma or its recognized equivalent, in passing a GED or other state-authorized exam, or in placing students in post-secondary education, job training, or employment; and
- Other indicators of the program’s overall quality.
Applicants seeking to show that they are “currently in school” through enrollment in such non Federal or state funded programs, must show the program’s demonstrated effectiveness based on USCIS standard.
Enrollment in English as a Second Language (ESL) Program.
In certain situations, enrollment into ESL program may meet the in school requirement for deferred action only if it is shown that participation in the ESL program is required and necessary for placement in postsecondary education, job training or employment.
Applicants must be enrolled in school on the date they submit their application for deferred action status in order for them to be considered “currently in school”
Evidence of graduation from high school.
Evidence of High School graduation include, a high school diploma from a public or private high school or secondary school, or a recognized equivalent of a high school diploma under state law, E.g. a General Education Development (GED) certificate, certificate of completion, a certificate of attendance, or an alternate award from a public or private high school or secondary school.
USCIS goal is to ensure that applicants for Deferred Action are seeking to continue into higher education ultimately, or will be going onto gainful employment due to their previous training.