How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Waiting to be approved for deferred action? Your notice could be in the mail

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If you're one of the many people who applied early on for temporary legal status under deferred action last month, there's a small chance that your approval notice - provided your application was approved - is in the mail.

If so, then you would be in a tiny minority of 29 applicants whose cases have already been adjudicated, but more notices should be on the way soon. Here's what U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced today in a statement:

In the past week, USCIS has completed adjudication of 29 requests and has more than 1600 ready for review.

USCIS is committed to adjudicating requests that fulfill the guidelines of the deferred action for childhood arrivals process consistent with the thorough review USCIS applies to all requests.  All background checks, biometric information and supporting documentation must be completed before a request will be sent to an adjudicator for review.

The agency began collecting biometrics data Sept. 7 from some of the young undocumented immigrants who applied early on. So far, since the application process began Aug. 15, 82,000 people have filed applications, according to the agency, up from the number announced earlier this week.

A USCIS spokesman said by phone that the first notices will be arriving by mail, and those who receive them could get them as early as today or by Monday.

In the meantime, USCIS has updated its list of frequently asked questions, with important details about filing, travel, and other criteria for qualification. Among the rules clarified are those pertinent to travel abroad: Applicants who travel or have traveled outside the country after Aug. 15 won't be eligible, and for those who get approved, they will need to refrain from travel unless they receive advance permission. There are also clarified rules pertaining to attorneys and others preparing applications for clients.

Earlier this week, when USCIS announced that 72,000 people had filed applications in the past month, some observers noted this was a relatively low number as some estimates have pointed to there being close to two million young people who could qualify.

Some potential applicants have hesitated for various reasons, however, including a fear of being deported if things go wrong or if there is a change in administration come November. In a post yesterday, three stakeholders provided their take on this and other issues, along with a reality check on the application process as it moves along. Among other things, gathering the documents needed has proven a difficult undertaking for some, especially older applicants.

The deferred action program was announced by the Obama administration in June. Applicants must meet strict criteria to qualify, including having arrived in the country prior to turning 16, living here at least five consecutive years, a record free of any major criminal offenses, and having been no older than 30 as of June 15.

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