In the past few years, the USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have been focusing on deportation and prosecuting immigration violation cases only for those individuals who pose a threat to national security. Low risk individuals – such as those who entered the US as children and have lived in the US without posing a threat to anyone – are now being offered the option of deferred action, which means that these qualified individuals may apply to be free of the risk of deportation for three years. Those who are accepted for deferred action may also receive employment authorization to work in the US legally.
Note: Deferred action status will now be valid for three years and not two years. Check out the eligibility requirements.
Applicants may qualify for deferred action for childhood arrivals if they:
- were younger than 31 years of age on June 15, 2012.
- arrived in the US before they were 16 years old.
- have resided in the US continuously in the US since at least June 15, 2007.
- were in the US at the time of the request and on June 15, 2012.
- entered the US without documentation or inspection prior to June 15, 2012 or had their status expire by that date.
- have not been convicted of three or more misdemeanors, any serious misdemeanor, or any felony.
- are not a threat to public safety or national security.
- currently attend school or have a GED, high school diploma, or an honorable discharge from the US Armed Forces.
Applications for deferred action for childhood arrivals will be accepted as of August 15, 2012. Starting on that date, those who qualify for deferred action for childhood arrivals will be able to apply. Applying early will lead to a rejection of an application. For more information about the deferred action for childhood arrivals, you can see the uscis.gov website or call the USCIS at 1-800-375-5283.
It is important to note that deferred action for childhood arrivals will not grant an undocumented individual legal status in the US. A successful application, however, will defer any removal action and may allow an individual to get work authorization in the US. While someone is granted deferred action for childhood arrivals, they will also not be considered to be in the US unlawfully. Those who are in immigration detention, removal proceedings, and those who are not in removal proceedings will all be able to apply for deferred action for childhood arrivals starting August 15 if they meet eligibility requirements. This means that those who are actively facing deportation or other actions due to their undocumented status may be able to apply for deferred action for childhood arrivals in order to stop these actions. Those who do not have any legal or removal actions against them may still wish to apply for deferred action for childhood arrivals in order to secure work authorization.