A wonderful day for “Dreamers”
June 15 is a wonderful day for those promising young Americans who were brought to the United States without proper documentations or fail to maintain their legal status as young children, but call this country home.
The USCIS has issued a Memo today on June 15, 2012, that will protect those young illegal immigrants who meet certain criteria from removal proceedings, and confer work authorization on them. Those qualified will be eligible to receive “deferred action”, which is a “discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual” made by DHS, for a period of two years, subject to renewal(s) in an increment of two years, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization, also subject to renewal(s) accordingly, provided they can “demonstrate an economic necessity for their employment”.
By issuing this memo, the USCIS exercises its “prosecutorial discretion” of focusing more of its enforcements on illegal immigrants who “pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety” instead of on the “low priority cases” regarding the young “dreamers” who have the potential to substantively contribute, or are now actively contributing, to the prosperities of the U.S.
The following criteria should be satisfied in order to be eligible for the “deferred action” and the work authorization. The individual must:
1) Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen;
2) Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of this memorandum(June 15, 2012) and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
3) Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
4) Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and
5) Not be above the age of thirty.
The USCIS memo states, inter alia, that the individual must be physically in the U.S. and have the documents to prove the above claims, in order to be eligible for the “deferred action” and work permit. The benefits are available for eligible individuals, whether they are “already in removal proceedings or subject to a final order of removal”, or have never been encountered by the DHS.
The DHS also claims, notably, that the approval for “deferred action” or work permit is not guaranteed even if the individual meets all the criteria. The request will be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.
Although the “deferred action” is only a temporary remedy for those promising young adults and definitely not a pathway to U.S. citizenship or Permanent Residency, it dose relieve them from the continuous fears of being deported from their homes. An administration official told a famous news provider that the new memo “is expected to potentially affect 800,000 people”.
Many consider this Memo as an attempt by the Obama administration to gain support from the booming Hispanic communities for the November presidential election. President Obama also claimed in a Rose Garden address that the change is "the right thing to do."
The memo can be deemed as an administrative version of the DREAM act while the latter is making no progress in the congress, and thus incurs some criticisms from conservatives, e.g. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida believes the memo is “ignoring the Constitution and going around Congress”. However, for those who is going to benefit from the new memo and to be relieved from the fear that has been hunting them for years, Sen. Rubio’s comment would probably also be “ignored”, in best-case scenario.
What should I do now?
If you are an illegal immigrant that meets the criteria and have not encountered by the DHS, or is subject to a final order of removal, you will need to submit a reviewing request soon. The USCIS will publish the specific procedures in the coming weeks. You may call USCIS, beginning on June 18, 2012 at 1-800-375-5283 (8 am-8 pm; English & Spanish)
If you “have a case pending before the Executive Office for Immigration Review or a federal court”, you need to contact ICE after the process of accepting request is published by it. You may call ICE, beginning on June 18, 2012 at 1-888-351-4024 (9am – 5pm; English and Spanish).
If you would like to know more about the new Memo and the details about whether you are qualified for the “deferred action”, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com to schedule a fee-based consultation.
Hopefully, the Congress and the President starts to improve the immigration system and reform the immigration laws and make America a kinder and more welcoming country for millions of new immigrants, I am included, who call this great country home.
Founded in 1996, Zhang & Attorneys, L.P. offers legal services to clients nationwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled thousands of immigration cases.
At Zhang & Attorneys, L.P., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, PERM, and I-485 cases. In the past sixteen years, we have successfully helped thousands of clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a free evaluation.
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