While immigration advocates are pressing President Obama to halt all deportations until an immigration reform bill can be passed, many immigrants that do not have legal status already have an opportunity to receive deferred status in the United States through the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) remedy. President Obama established this rule two years ago, and it allows immigrants who arrived in the United States as children to apply for a two-year deportation protected status, in addition to a work permit.
Obtaining deferred action does not bring about permanent residency or citizenship. It simply stops immigration authorities from deporting an individual who would otherwise be removable. Still, it can serve as an important tool if you or someone you know would like to stay legally in the United States and have the opportunity to work. Below is a brief explanation on who may apply for deferred action status.
Who Can Apply?
In accordance with the guidelines set forth by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an immigrant can apply for deferred status if he or she was younger than 31 years old on June 15, 2012, was younger than age 16 when he or she arrived in the United States to live, and lived in the United States since June 15, 2007. The individual also had to have been physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and he or she must be in the United States during the application process.
In addition to the above criteria, there are some limitations on the types of people that can apply as well. If the person applying for deferment has been convicted of a felony or certain types of ‘significant misdemeanors,’ he or she may not be eligible to apply.
‘Significant misdemeanor’ is not a term that is typically used in immigration law. USCIS defines a significant misdemeanor as one for which the maximum term of imprisonment is less than a year, but greater than five days and either 1) was a domestic violence, burglary, use of firearm, drug trafficking or DUI offense, or 2) was an offense in which the individual was sentenced to more than 90 days in custody. If either of these two categories is fulfilled, then that person cannot apply for the deferral.
Remember that DACA is still a relatively new policy in a time in which immigration law is becoming more and more open to change. While USCIS has stated that after the two-year time limit has passed individuals can renew for another two years, no one yet knows what effect immigration reform will have on this policy.
If you or someone you know in Illinois would like to know more information about DACA or other options for legally residing and working in the United States, contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC today.