As an Austin immigration attorney in a city with a large student population, our office has been getting a lot of requests for clarification on the announcement by the Department of Homeland Security on June 15, 2012.
The purpose of this post is to answer some of the frequent questions we have been getting. Keep in mind that to-date, there's no affirmative method to apply for this benefit. Immigration lawyers nationwide are eagerly anticipating further instruction expected sometime in August.
What kind of documentation can you start gathering now if you think you are eligible for this benefit? (see my prior blog for the requirements)
1. You will have to show that you came into the United States before you turned 16. You'll also have to show that you have continuously resided in the United States for 5 years.
2. Example of documents that can be utilized to prove this: a) financial records (bank statements, tax returns filed by your parents) b) medical records (for example, shot records for school), c) school records (report cards), d) employment records (pay stubs and employment letters), e) military records, and f) affidavits, among others. Meet with an immigration attorney to review your specific case and get a customized assessment of the requirements for your case.
The main focus will be to prove your age, continuous presence for five years, and presence in the United States on June 15th, 2012.
Will the new law apply to those who are currently in removal proceedings but not yet subject to a final order of removal?
Yes. Those who meet the criteria will be eligible. ICE will exercise prosecutorial discretion, on an individual basis, by deferring action for 2 years, subject to renewal. This will enforce DHS's intent of preventing deportation of low priority individuals.
What about those who are not in removal proceedings? what is the application process?
Those who are not in removal proceedings will also be able to affirmatively apply if they meet the criteria. But we currently do not know what the process will be yet. It is expected that USCIS will establish a clear and efficient process and that they will provide instructions sometime in August of this year. So stay tuned!
It is expected that thousands of children and young adults will be eligible for this benefit. If you think you qualify for deferred action, meet with a licensed attorney to start preparing for your case. If you would like to set up a consultation at our office, give us a call at (512) 215-5225.