Many DREAMers are still unaware of the age restrictions for deferred action status. To become eligible for deferred action status, a DREAMer must be above age 15 and below 31. The ones who were above age 31 as of 15th June, 2012, are ineligible for this status. Individuals who were born after June 15, 1981, are eligible for deferred action and the ones who were below age 31 as of 15th June, 2013, can file applications for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). However, undocumented youth who were above 31 on the above mentioned date cannot apply for this temporary status.
This requirement related to age applies only to the initial applications. DREAMers who receive deferred action status can apply for renewal at the end of the two year period even after they turn 31. According to the Immigration Policy Center, there are around 1.8 million DREAMers in the country who are eligible for DACA. This includes the ones who are too young to apply for deferred action and the ones who are now eligible for this status. It must be remembered that to apply for this status, an undocumented immigrant in the United States must be between ages 15 and 31.
More than 570,000 DREAMers have so far received deferred action status and two year work permits. There are still many who are eligible for this status but have not filed their applications. There are many reasons why they have not filed applications. Some have not applied as they are unable to afford the form filing fee. Some still believe that the information they provide while filing their applications will be used by the immigration officers to deport them or their family members who are out of status.
The other reason is the misconception about the age restrictions. Some who are eligible and who are unaware of the age restrictions believe that they are ineligible for DACA. DREAMers who seek to apply for deferred action need to be aware of the eligibility requirements and make sure that they are eligible for this temporary status prior to filing their applications.
Following are the requirements the DREAMers need to meet to apply for deferred action status.
- They must have got into the United States when they were minors below age 16.
- They must have resided in the United States continuously for a five year period immediately preceding the date of implementation of the DACA program.
- They must be in school at the time of filing their applications or must be high school graduates. If not, they need to be honorably discharged veterans.
- They must have a clear record without any criminal activity and must not pose a threat to the national security.
- They must prove that, on June 15, 2012, they were under age 31 and above 15.