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Deferred Action: New Policy for Unocumented Immigrants

Dream Act ImmigrationOn June 15, 2012 President Barak Obama introduced Deferred Action – a new and very important policy of Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This policy will help a large population of young illegal and undocumented immigrants who came to the US under the age of 16 to get legal status in the US. Undocumented aliens who meet the requirements listed below will be able to apply for a legal “Deferred Action” status for two years (subject to renewal) and, importantly, for employment authorization. Deferred Action immigration policy also requires the government to stop removal proceedings of eligible aliens and prevents the government from initiating deportation proceedings against them.

Deferred Action Requirements:

1. Arrived in the United States when they were under the age of 16;

2. Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years prior to June 15, 2012;

3. Were present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making a request for deferred action;

4. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;

5. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security ; and

6. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.

7. Are above the age of 15, unless in removal proceedings.

Since President Obama’s announcement of Deferred Action, we at Valentini Law Offices have been getting many questions from our current and potential clients regarding this new policy. Below we are providing some answers to those questions and sincerely hope that aliens eligible for Deferred Action would take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to come out of the shadows!

Deferred Action Lawyer Answers FAQ

Did Obama recently pass an immigration amnesty or immigration reform?

Not really. On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced new immigration policy called “Deferred Action.” Under this new policy, young illegal and undocumented aliens who came to the US under 16 (also known as “Dreamers”), either alone or with their parents, would receive “deferred action” status. Practically speaking, Deferred Action allows undocumented aliens to receive employment authorizations (work permits) and mandates the government to stop pending deportation proceedings against them and, as an added bonus, precludes the government from starting deportation proceedings against them.

When can I apply for Deferred Action?

Deferred Action application process is not open yet; we expect USCIS to issue application instructions by August 15, 2012. We encourage you to contact us via phone or email, in Spanish or English, so that we could confidentially screen your case and provide you with additional information on Deferred Action.

What if I apply for Deferred Action before August 15, 2012?

Unfortunately, your application will be rejected.

Could I get a green card if I am eligible for Deferred Action?

Unfortunately, no. Good news is that you could receive an employment authorization or work permit. An employment authorization would qualify you for drivers license and social security number. Additionally, an employment authorization could give you a lot more opportunities in the US: opening bank accounts, better job opportunities and even buying your own home.

I turned 31 on July 20, 2012. I am eligible for Deferred Action?

Yes. You had to be not above the age of 30 as of June 15, 2012.

Would I get a Social Security Number if I qualify for a Deferred Action?

Yes. Once you get your Employment Authorization, otherwise known as work permit, you could get a Social Security Number.

How do I get a Social Security Number once I am granted Deferred Action?

First you need to apply for and receive an Employment Authorization Document. Once you have that document, find your local Social Security Office and go there in person to apply for a Social Security Number. You will need to bring your passport, employment authorization document and your birth certificate along with a translation. If you application is successful, expect you Social Security card to arrive in the mail to your home address in about two weeks.

Would I get a Driver’s License if I qualify for a Deferred Action?

It depends on a state, but generally yes. In NY and NJ,  once you get your Employment Authorization, Social Security Number and are in possession of other documents required by a 6 point system you should be able to get a Driver’s License.

I entered the US when I was 15, but my spouse entered at the age of 18. If I am granted Deferred Action, would he also get it since we are married?

No. Everybody needs to qualify for Deferred Action on his own right. Therefore, even though you are married, your spouse does not qualify for Deferred Action.

Could I apply for my parents and siblings once I am granted Deferred Action?

No. Unlike lawful permanent residency (Green Card) or naturalization (US citizenship) does not allow you to petition for your immediate relatives.

If I am granted Deferred Action and employment authorization, how long would those be valid for?

Both Deferred Action and employment authorization, otherwise known as work permit will be issued in two year increments.

I am currently in deportation or removal proceedings. Could I benefit from Deferred Action?

Yes! Please ask your immigration lawyer about this option or contact Deferred Action Lawyer for a confidential case evaluation and consultation.

I have a final order of removal. Could I still qualify for Deferred Action?

Yes. Aliens subject to final orders of removal will be eligible for Deferred Action.

I have a voluntary departure order. Could I still qualify for Deferred Action?

Yes. Aliens subject to voluntary departure orders will be eligible for Deferred Action.

A few years ago, my VAWA case was denied. Could I still apply for Deferred Action?

Yes. You could benefit from Deferred Action even if your previous immigration case or even multiple immigration applications were denied.

A few immigration lawyers I spoke to told me that I should not delay and apply for Deferred Action right away since it might be canceled in the beginning of 2013.

They are absolutely right. If President Obama does not get re-elected in November 2012, it is extremely likely that a new President, upon taking the office in January 2013, would cancel Deferred Action. Such cancellation would not, however, apply retroactively. In other words, such cancellation will not travel back in time and apply to applications that were filed beforehand. Therefore, you must make sure to apply for Deferred Action benefits as soon as possible and certainly no later than December 2012.

How do I start my Deferred Action case?

You could start by contacting Deferred Action Lawyer for a confidential case evaluation and consultation in Spanish or English. When coming in or calling in for a consultation, please make sure to bring your passport and, if available, I-94 (otherwise known as “white card”) and tax returns.

Announcements

On November 20, 2014 President Obama announced new executive order expanding 2012 Deferred Action initiative (DACA). New executive order establishes eligibility for work permits for DACA family members and expands DACA eligibility. For more info contact us at your earliest convenience!