On June 15, 2012, Secretary of Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Janet Napolitano, announced that effective immediately, the U.S. will no longer deport certain immigrants who were brought into the country illegally before the age of 16 and who have not committed a crime since coming into the country as children.
Under the new policy, those who demonstrate they meet the below requirements will be eligible for relief from deportation, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization. Specifically, they will receive a “deferred action” for two years, meaning DHS will agree NOT to place the individual in deportation proceedings or agree NOT to execute an order of deportation. This new policy applies to individuals both in removal proceedings and individuals who are not currently in removal proceedings. The requirements are as follows:
· The individual came to the U.S, under the age of sixteen;
· Have continuously resided in the U.S for at least five years before June 15, 2012, and was present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012;
· Is currently in school, has graduated from high school, obtained a G.E.D, or was honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the U.S.;
· Has 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; and
· Is not over the age of thirty
While this policy is to take effect immediately, USCIS and ICE expect to implement these new regulations within sixty days. In the coming weeks, USCIS will outline and announce the procedures by which individuals can apply for this process. In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding this new policy or any other immigration concerns, do not hesitant to contact Challa Law Office at 804-360-8482 or at email@example.com.
Those familiar with emerging immigration legislation should recognize these policies implement key points of the DREAM Act. The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM Act, would create a path to citizenship for immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally under the age of 16 and have lived in the United States for at least five years, obtained a high school or G.E.D. diploma, and demonstrated "good moral character." Since efforts to pass the DREAM Act in Congress have failed, it appears the White House has finally taken it upon themselves to implement reforms necessary to our current immigration system.