Department of Homeland Security Will Offer Deferred Action Process to Young Undocumented Immigrants

On June 15, 2012, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that young undocumented immigrants will now be eligible for relief from removal proceedings if they were brought to the US under the age of 16, are currently living in the US, are not older than 30 and are in school or have graduated high school, among other requirements. These immigrants will also be eligible to apply for work authorization.

PLC Labor & Employment

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On June 15, 2012, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will offer deferred action to young undocumented immigrants who meet certain eligibility requirements ...show full speedread

On June 15, 2012, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will offer deferred action to young undocumented immigrants who meet certain eligibility requirements. This program will provide relief from removal proceedings for a period of up to two years, and eligible individuals will also be allowed to apply for work authorization.

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In a June 15, 2012 directive, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will not pursue removal proceedings against undocumented immigrants who:

  • Were brought to the US before they reached the age of 16.

  • Are currently living in the US.

  • Have resided in the US for a continuous period that began at least five years before June 15, 2012.

  • Are currently in school, have graduated from high school or obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the US Coast Guard or Armed Forces.

  • Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense or multiple misdemeanor offenses, and do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.

  • Are no older than 30 years of age.

As explained by the directive and the DHS press release, the DHS does not make a blanket guarantee of eligibility; individuals must prove that they satisfy these requirements. The DHS will determine which immigrants meet the criteria and qualify for deferred action on a case-by-case basis. They will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, which will provide relief from:

  • Removal from the US, for those already in removal proceedings.

  • Entering into removal proceedings, for those not currently in them.

Eligible individuals will also be allowed to apply for work authorization.

In her directive, DHS Secretary Napolitano explained that only Congress can confer rights on this category of immigrants, but as a matter of prosecutorial discretion, the DHS would not pursue legal action against those who were unlawfully brought to the US as children by no fault of their own. This will allow the DHS to better focus on removing undocumented immigrants who pose a potential or actual threat to the US.

The directive takes effect immediately, but the DHS will begin to implement the application process of this program within 60 days from the date of the directive.

 
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