Deferred Action Program Benefitting Young Immigrants

On June 15, 2012, Pres. Obama announced his administration's plan to stop deporting some young immigrants who are in the country illegally. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will allow as many as 1.4 million people to remain here without fear of deportation. Immigrants in New Jersey should be aware of the qualification requirements for the deferred action program, as there are certain criteria that must be met in order to for the government to consider one's case.

Deferred Action Program

The deferred action program aims to help those who were brought to the U.S as children, having no say in the matter, and who have lived a good majority of their lives in the country without blemish. Those who meet all the following qualifications may apply for temporary protection from deportation and two-year renewable work permits:

  • Under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012
  • Have entered the United States before the age of 16
  • Be in school, graduated from high school, or have the equivalent of a high school degree (GED), or be honorably discharged from the military
  • No criminal record
  • Proof of continuous residence in the U.S. for five years from June 15, 2007 through June 15, 2012

Program Results

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting applications for deferred status on August 15, 2012. It is still too early to judge the success of the program, but stories of those narrowly avoiding deportation because of the policy shift have surfaced across the country. The application is filed on Form I-821D along with Form I-765 and I-765WS. The filing fee is $465, which includes the application fee and biometrics fee. Background checks will be conducted on all applicants.

Experts believe that the USCIS workload could increase by as much as 25 percent with all of the applications that will come in from those seeking temporary protected status and work authorization under the new program. Officials advise those who want to apply to do so early, in case of a backlog. Some proponents note worries about the program's future, given that 2012 is an election year and the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, has voiced criticism of the plan. There are also concerns about how certain issues may be considered, such as for those who may have worked without authorization or used false documentation while here in the United States.

Seek Legal Help

Immigration law in the U.S. is complex and fluid. Not only do the laws or interpretations of them change, but enforcement of the law can fluctuate at any given time. Those who have questions about any immigration issues should contact a qualified immigration attorney with broad experience and familiarity with the issues they need assistance with.