DHS Announces Deferred Action Process to Select Young Individuals

Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that a certain class of young individuals will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, explained as follows: “Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner. But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.” Those eligible for consideration are individuals who came to the U.S. as young children and who meet the following criteria:

  • Be 15-30 years old, and have entered before age 16;
  • Have been present in the U.S. for 5 years as of June 15, 2012;
  • Have maintained continuous residence;
  • Have not been convicted of one serious crime or multiple minor crimes, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and
  • Be currently enrolled in high school, graduated or have a GED, or have enlisted in the military.

Those who meet the above criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization. Although this rule is effect immediately, USCIS and ICE anticipate implementation of the application processes to be within sixty days. In the meantime, for more information on the new policy, see USCIS’s website (at www.uscis.gov), ICE’s website (at www.ice.gov), or DHS’s website (at www.dhs.gov). Beginning June 18, 2012, you can also call USCIS’ hotline at 1-800-375-5283 or ICE’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 regarding the process.

Map with North America depicted in white, with the most populated cities represented as small black dots, with darker shades indicating higher population density

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