Deferred Action for DREAMers

On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the DACA program would be terminated effective March 5, 2018. This 6-month period gives Congress a chance to enact legislation to protect the Dreamers. 

On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced that the Department of Homeland Security would offer deferred action to individuals brought to the United States as children who satisfy certain criteria.

Eligible individuals must:

  • 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 a felony, a significant misdemeanor or multiple minor misdemeanors
  • Be currently in school, graduated or have a GED, or is an honorably discharged veteran

The deferred action offer will be available to those in proceedings, as well as to those who apply affirmatively.

The Department has posted its Announcement on its site in both English and Spanish. The Department has also posted an FAQ about the announcement.

What exactly is “deferred action?” 

Deferred Action is temporary protection against deportation/removal for those who are eligible and approved. If approved, a person is eligible to stay and work in the U.S for a period of time.  However, the decision to grant or deny a request for deferred action is a purely administrative act and it is not subject to review by either administrative or federal courts. Deferred action does not confer any immigration status on an individual and it can be revoked at the discretion of immigration officials.

What documents should I gather to support my application for deferred action under the Department’s new policy?

Documents that can establish your eligibility include the following:

  • A certified copy of your birth certificate and, if necessary, have it translated.  This information will be required to establish both your age and identity.
  • Financial/bank records, medical records, school records, and employment records if you worked with a valid social security number or taxpayer ID number, can establish your date of entry, continuous physical presence, and presence in the U.S. on June 15, 2012.
  • Court records and police reports can establish that you meet the eligibility criteria of not having been convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor resulting in a sentence exceeding on year.  These documents will also assist legal counsel in assessing whether you are eligible to apply for deferred action.
  • A copy of your military records, diploma, GED certificate, report cards, and school transcripts will establish that you have met the education or military service requirement.

If you have any criminal conviction, misdemeanor or felony, I would strongly advise you to seek the counsel of a competent immigration attorney who can advise you whether your conviction could result in a denial of your application and possibly subject you to removal proceedings.

PLEASE NOTE:  USCIS is striving to prevent immigration scams and has provided useful information to protect the legal interests of applicants for immigration benefits. It has also published a flyer to assist the public and help identify and prevent unauthorized legal assistance.

The application for applying for Deferred Action for Certain Childhood Arrivals (Form I-821D) and its instructions can be found here.