This past summer, President Obama introduced a new policy which would allow children of undocumented immigrants to remain in the US without risk of deportation in some cases for up to two years. The deferred action for childhood arrivals, as it is known, protects qualified immigrants from deportation for up to two years and allows them to apply for work authorization in the US as well. The USCIS has now released more information about deferred action for childhood arrivals and will begin accepting applications starting August 15, 2012. You may qualify for deferred action for childhood arrivals if:
1) You arrived in the US illegally before June 15, 2012 or had an expired status as of that date. You must have entered the US before the age of 16.
2) You are less than 31 years of age as of 15 June 2012.
3) You currently live in the US and have lived in the US continuously since June 15, 2007. You must also have been physically in the US on June 15, 2012.
4) You have a GED, high school diploma, honorable discharge from the Armed Forces or Coast Guard, or are currently in school.
5) You have no criminal record. This means you have not been convicted of three or more misdemeanors and not have been convicted of any felonies or serious misdemeanors.
If you qualify, you must apply for deferred action for childhood arrivals no sooner than August 15, 2012. Any applications received before this date will be rejected.
It is important to note that deferred action for childhood arrivals is not a path to legal status or citizenship. It simply defers removal proceedings and permits qualified individuals to get work authorization in the US. If you are currently in the US and are in immigration detention or are facing removal proceedings, you may be able to get relief from these proceedings by applying for deferred action for childhood arrivals. You can also apply for deferred action for childhood arrivals to get work authorization to work in the US legally. While you are granted deferred action for childhood arrivals, you are not considered to be an unlawful presence in the US. The period before and after your application is accepted, however, may still be considered a period of unlawful presence. Deferred action for childhood arrivals does not excuse unlawful presence.
Those who apply for deferred action for childhood arrivals may not secure a similar status for their immediate relatives. The information provided as part of deferred action for childhood arrivals applications will not be used for immigration enforcement, however, unless the information provided meets the requirements for the issuance of a Notice To Appear. This means that those who apply for deferred action for childhood arrivals do not need to worry about their information being used to deport them in the event that their application is not accepted.