President Obama’s administration announced on June 15, 2012, that it would implement a new government policy of granting temporary immigration benefits to persons under 30 years of age.
The new policy that some observers labeled, a mini Dream Act, in reference to the proposal to grant lawful immigration status to young persons who have attended school in the U.S. will grant what is known as “Deferred Action,” to potentially hundreds of thousands of young immigrants currently in the U.S.
Under this new policy persons under 30 years of age as of June 15, 2012 can obtain temporary legal status and employment authorization if they can prove that they are under the age of 30, have resided in the U.S. for at least five years, came to the U.S. while they were under the age of 16, are presently in the U.S., are presently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a GED certificate, or are honorably discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard or Military, have not been convicted of a felony, or of a misdemeanor offense labeled “significant” or have not been convicted of two or more misdemeanors.
The memo issued by the Department of Homeland Security states that the USCIS is instructed to commence administration of this new government policy within as little time as 60 days.
The memo states that the new policy applies to persons who are in the U.S. and regardless whether they are in removal (deportation) proceedings or are subject to a final order of removal, (deportation.).
Persons who qualify can obtain deferral of any deportation or removal proceedings instituted against them and may apply for employment authorization. The government states that benefits are granted on a case by case basis and initially are granted for a two year period with extensions available.
David M. Sturman, a noted immigration attorney in Los Angeles, California stated: “This is exciting news and is part of the Obama Administation’s policy of liberalizing what is known as prosecutorial discretion. Although it will not grant lawful permanent residence to applicants, they can seek and obtain temporary lawful status and work authorization. This will help enormously for immigrants seeking further education or obtaining meaningful employment. Hopefully, it will pave the way for further benefits to the millions of immigrants living in this country without status. This is a very happy day.”
The government states that further instructions and guidance on the new Deferred Action policy will be forthcoming in the near future.
DAVID M. STURMAN is an immigration attorney, a frequent author of articles on immigration law and a professor of law in California. He will answer all immigration questions for free. Address questions to Contact Us or to David M Sturman, 16530 Ventura Blvd, Ste. 310, Encino, CA. 91436 or at 818-714-2226. PHILIP ABRAMOWITZ is the administrator of the law office. He can be reached at 818-324-8110.