Photo by Neighborhood Centers/Flickr (Creative Commons)
A young man looks over a petition during a deferred action informational event in Texas, June 20, 2010
Starting next Wednesday, many young undocumented immigrants who arrived here before age 16 may begin applying for deferred action, a form of temporary legal status that's part of a new Obama administration policy. If approved, they can also apply for work permits.
There is a long list of criteria that applicants must meet, including that they were under 31 as of June 15, the date on which the policy was announced. Last week, Homeland Security officials issued guidelines that answered some of the questions surrounding the application process, and made the rules for deferred action applicants clearer.
But for those who don't quite qualify, even though they meet the other criteria, the news is bittersweet. Some are still clinging to hope that future adjustments could be made. A few recent posts have addressed those who don't quite qualify, particularly those who are slightly too old but otherwise meet the criteria. Following a related Q&A with Telemundo legal expert and immigration attorney Alma Rosa Nieto last month, readers have posted questions, which Nieto has answered.
Source: Migration Policy Institute
An estimate of potential deferred action beneficiaries, by age group
Now that Homeland Security officials have issued detailed guidelines on who may may qualify for deferred action, temporary legal status that young undocumented immigrants can apply for under a new Obama administration plan, it looks like there could be more applicants in the pipeline than estimated before.
The change comes after the guidelines, released last Friday, clarified that youths lacking a high school diploma or GED would be still eligible to apply, so long as they have re-enrolled in school by the date of their application. This raises the number of potentially eligible young people, estimated at as many as 1.39 million in June by the Migration Policy Institute, to 1.76 million.
MPI now estimates that with the educational requirements as they stand, an additional 350,000 young undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as minors could eligible for deferred action if they meet other criteria.
Screen shot from uscis.gov (U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services)
Homeland Security officials provided more details today on how young undocumented immigrants will be able to apply for deferred action, temporary legal status under a new Obama administration policy that's been shortened to an acronym, DACA, for "deferred action for childhood arrivals."
The guidelines were posted today, along with a brochure and an illustrated flyer with the basics: That applicants must have arrived in the U.S. before age 16, were no older than 30 as of last June 15, had resided in the United States for five continuous years since June 15, 2007, have no felony or other serious convictions or national security problems, and so forth.
There will be a processing fee of $465, although the application forms are still being developed. A limited number may be able to obtain fee waivers. Biometrics and background checks will be needed, too. From today's statement posted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:
Photo by stevechihos/Flickr (Creative Commons)
By mid-August, hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who believe they may qualify for temporary legal status under a new Obama administration policy are expected to begin making their cases for why they should stay.
What they'll be applying for is deferred action, which does not lead to permanent legal status but would at least give them temporary relief for deportation, renewable after two years, and the ability to apply for work permits.
They must meet certain criteria, including that they are no older than 30, have a clean record and have been in the United States continuously for at least five years. But what about those who might otherwise qualify, but are too old?
Young people who meet most criteria but are over 30 or have another slight qualification issue (such as arriving in the U.S. just after the cutoff date) may not be entirely out of luck, Telemundo legal expert and immigration attorney Alma Rosa Nieto said in a Q&A last week. But to see if they stand any chance of relief via deferred action, they must take a wait-and-see approach. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency charged with implementing the policy, is still working out a strategy and there are questions that have yet to be answered.
Photo by Neighborhood Centers/Flickr (Creative Commons)
A young man signs a petition during a deferred action informational event in Houston, Texas, June 20, 2010
It's been more than a month since President Obama announced that his administration would not pursue deportation for some young undocumented immigrants, instead allowing them to apply for deferred action, which would give them temporary legal status and relief from deportation.
If they meet certain criteria, including that they are no older than 30, have a clean record and have been in the United States continuously for at least five years, undocumented young people who arrived in the country before age 16 could be eligible to stay on a renewable temporary basis, and to apply for work permits. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials were tasked with creating a process to accept applications. And as the clocks ticks toward implementation in August, in spite of challenges and concerns about the lack of a permanent solution, many of those who could qualify are hopeful.