As an Austin immigration lawyer, these are exciting times in our field. On June 15th, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that certain young people will be eligible to request deferred action.
It's important to note that deferred action is not a visa or a path to residency. Deferred action is a period of administrative grace during which the removal from the United States will be deferred. It's essentially formal acknowledgement that the intending immigrant is a low priority for removal.
Deferred action for current or past students will allow for deferred action for two-year increments (applicants will be eligible for renewal of this benefit). During this time, those that are eligible will be able to apply for a work permit. It is anticipated that there will be a requirement of showing economic necessity to obtain the work permit. USCIS has been directed to come up with a process for applying for this benefit. It is expected that more specific guidance and instructions will be available in early to mid August. It is also expected that this regulation will potentially benefit over 800,000 immigrants.
For now, it's important to consider the basic criteria for eligibility under the deferred action regulations. To be considered on an individualized basis for deferred action under this process an individual must:
1. Have come to the U.S. before the age of sixteen;
2. Have continuously resided in the U.S. for at least five years preceding June 15, 2012 and must have been present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
3. Must currently be enrolled in school, have graduated high school, obtained a general education development certificate, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the U.S.;
4. Not have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States.
5. Not be above the age of thirty.
Many of the details have not been determined yet. Immigration lawyers nationwide will be waiting for further guidance in the months to come. It is important that those that think they are eligible meet with a licensed attorney to review individual cases and begin gathering the required documents.
The Lyttle Law Firm, PLLC has experience handling many types of immigration matters. We are currently taking appointments for those who would like a personal consultation for preliminary review under the new deferred action rule. At this point, our goal is to guide our clients in collecting the necessary information so that we are ready for filing upon final guidance from USCIS as expected in August 2012. If you would like to set up a consultation, please call us at (512) 215-5225.