Deferred Action, Is It For You?

Deferred Action, Is It For You?>

On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced a new immigration benefit case “Deferred Action.” You can benefit from Deferred Action if you meet all of the criteria below:

1. You entered the U.S. before your 16th birthday and are no more than 30 years old at the time of application; and
2. You have been present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and for at least 5 years prior; and
3. You have not committed a felony, a significant misdeamor or multiple minor misdemeanors; and
4. You are currently attending school, graduated school, or have a GED, or you are an honorably discharged veteran.

Criminal Record. A felony is an offense punishable by one or more year in prison. A significant misdemeanor can be a number of things, such as domestic violence, threat of violence, driving under the influence, etc. Multiple minor misdeamenors means three or more.

All of the above factors must be documented. A lawyer can advise you on what documentation is sufficient.

You can benefit from Deferred Action if you are in removal proceedings. If you are not in removal proceedings, you can apply for Deferred Action to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), BUT note there is no process to apply available as of the date of this publication. USCIS is granted 30 days to come up with a procedure. Be aware of anyone advising you they can apply for you unless you are sure that he procedure has been set up. You can contact me and I will add you to an e-mail list to let you know when you can apply.

What Deferred Action gives you is the legal right to remain in the U.S. and if you show economic necessity, to obtain work authorization. Deferred Action will be granted for two years at a time, and can be extended.

What Deferred Action does not give you is a pathway to permanent residence (green card) or to citizenship. It does not allow to list any of your family members on your application. It does not guarantee that once granted, it will be extended.

Finally, if you apply for Deferred Action, and are denied, you may request that the government does not remove you from the U.S., asking the U.S. government to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” in your favor. If your request is denied, you may be removed (deported).

For the above reasons it is extremely important that you seek an attorney’s advice. Do not have an “immigration service” prepare your paperwork, and do not trust someone that is calling themselves a public notary or notario. Some of these individuals and agencies may file too early, before there is even a process setup, or file when you do not qualify, or include your family members that do not qualify, or pretend that they can obtain a green card for you through this process. Consult with an attorney.