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DHS Issues FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on Deferred Action Illegals Who Entered As Children

June 15, 2012 - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued answers to  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the deferred action policy for undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children.  The policy comes under an executive order issued by President Barack Obama to afford prosecutorial discretion to certain aliens who entered the United States with their parents before age 16. 

The FAQs discuss the following:

• Who is eligible for Deferred Action
• What is deferred Action
• How will the new directive be implemented
• Are individuals who receive deferred action eligible for employment authorization
• Does the process result in permanent lawful status for beneficiaries
• Why will deferred actions be granted for two years
• If an individual’s period of deferred action is extended, will individuals need to re-apply for an extension of their employment authorization
• Does this policy apply to those who are subject to final order of removal
• How soon after USCIS receives a request to review a case will an individual receive a decision on his or her request
• If an individual who is about to be removed by ICE believes he or she satisfies the eligibility criteria and are about to be removed for the new process, what steps should he or she take to ensure his or her case is reviewed before the removal
• If an individual who satisfies the eligibility criteria is encountered by Customs and Border Protection or ICE, will he or she be placed in removal proceedings
• If an individual accepted an offer of administrative closure under the case-by-case review process or if his or her case was terminated as part of the case-by-case process, can he or she receive deferred action under the new process
• If an individual accepted an offer of administrative closure under the case-by-case review process, can he or she receive deferred action under the new process
• If an individual’s case was reviewed as part of the case-by-case process but he or she was not offered an administrative closure, can he or she receive deferred action under the new process
• Will DHS personnel responsible for reviewing requests for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this process receive special training
• Will individuals be subject to background checks before they can receive an exercise of prosecutorial discretion
• What do background checks involve
• What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual came to the United States before the age of 16
• What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual has resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012
• What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual was physically present in the United States as of June 15, 2012
• What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual is currently in school, has graduated from high school, or has obtained a general education development certificate (GED)
• What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States
• What steps will USCIS and ICE take to prevent fraud in the new processes
• Are individuals with a conviction for a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanors eligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this new process
• What offenses qualify as a felony
• What offenses qualify as a “significant misdemeanor”
• How many non-significant misdemeanors constitute “multiple misdemeanors” making an individual ineligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this new process
• What qualifies as a national security or public safety threat
• How will ICE and USCIS handle cases involving individuals who do not satisfy the eligibility criteria under this new process but may be eligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under the June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda
• Will there be supervisory review of decisions by ICE and USCIS under this process
• Can individuals appeal a denial by ICE or USCIS of their request for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under the new process
• Will dependents and other immediate relatives of individuals who receive deferred action pursuant to this process also be eligible to receive deferred action
• If an individual’s request to USCIS for deferred action is denied, will he or she be placed in removal proceedings
• Should individuals who are not in removal proceedings but believe themselves to be eligible for an exercise of deferred action under this process seek to place themselves into removal proceedings through encounters with ICE or CBP
• If I receive deferred action through this process, will I be able to travel outside the United States
• Will there be any exceptions to the requirement that an individual must have resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012
• What should I do if I am eligible under this process and have been issued an ICE detainer following an arrest by a state or local law enforcement officer
• Does deferred action provide individuals with a path to citizenship or permanent legal status
• Why isn’t DHS allowing other individuals to request deferred action under this process
• Does this Administration remain committed to comprehensive immigration reform
• Is passage of the DREAM Act still necessary in light of the new process
• How can I get more information on the new process
• Where can I find more information about where to go for Deferred Action


USCIS issued a press release which announces the creation of deferred action for young children who entered illegally. The deferred action process permits qualifying aliens to remain in the country and apply for work authorizations which may be renewed every 2 years.  To qualify, undocumented illegal aliens must have entered the United States by the age of 16, have no serious criminal convictions, are in school or members of the military. Applicants must also prove that they have been in the United States for at least 5 years. [Read The USCIS Press Release on Deferred Action] .

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