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June 15, 2012


IMMIGRATION AND POLICY: Posted by Norka M. Schell, Esq.Secretary Napolitan...: Posted by Norka M. Schell, Esq. Secretary Napolitano Announces Deferred Action Process for Young People Who Are Low Enforcement Priorities ...


Posted by Norka M. Schell, Esq.

On June 15, 2012, Secretary Napolitano Announced Deferred Action Process for Young People Who Are Low Enforcement Priorities

Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred action, on a case by case basis.

Here are some details of the new policy:

To be eligible, the individual must:

1. Have arrived to the United States under the age of sixteen; 

2. Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum; 

3.  Be currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or be honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;

4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; 

5. Be between 15 years or older and not above the age of thirty. 

Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action. Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today’s date.

Deferred action requests are decided on a case-by-case basis. DHS cannot provide any assurance that all such requests will be granted. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right, immigration status, or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

It estimates that this new policy will benefit nearly 1 million DREAMers.

 For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria and have been offered an exercise of discretion as part of ICE’s ongoing case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer them deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

While this guidance takes effect immediately, USCIS and ICE expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days. In the meantime, individuals seeking more information on the new policy should visit USCIS’s website (at www.uscis.gov), ICE’s website (at www.ice.gov), DHS’s website (at www.dhs.gov), or contact my firm at (212) 564-1589.