President Obama’s Deferred Action Proposal

By: Noel Suniga

Recently a statement was issued by the Department of Homeland Security that laid out criteria for the deferred action proposal President Obama has been promoting. It is expected that this new policy will be implemented near August of 2012. President Obama’s proposal would allow young people who have a clean record and who arrived in the United States before age 16, among other things, to apply for deferred action or a temporary deferment of removal. It is also believed that if an individual meets the deferred action criteria, he or she will then be able to apply for a work permit. The details of the president’s proposal do not provide a mechanism for permanent legal residency status or a pathway to citizenship.

While President Obama’s proposal may not be what many consider “immigration reform,” it is expected that the policy when implemented will give qualified individuals the opportunity to live free from fear of deportation and allow them to work legally in the United States.

The details that have emerged from the Department of Homeland Security indicate that in order to qualify, an individual must:

  1. have arrived in the United States when they were under the age of sixteen;
  2. have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years prior to June 15, 2012, and have been present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
  3. currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have a GED or be an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces;
  4. not have been convicted of a felony offense, a “significant misdemeanor offense,” three or more non-significant misdemeanors or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and
  5. have been under 31 years old on June 15, 2012.

As per the Department of Homeland Security, the deferred action offer will be available to qualified individuals in proceedings with final removal orders, as well as to those who apply affirmatively.

At this point, the Administration is not yet accepting applications for this action. It is hoped that by the middle of August, the Administration will issue guidance and information about how eligible individuals can request deferred action and work authorization.

The consensus among many immigration lawyers is that if you are not currently in removal proceedings, you SHOULD NOT apply for deferred action at this time. It is best to wait until the process has been announced by the Department of Homeland Security. For more information on this or any other immigration matter, you can consult Bailey & Galyen to set up an appointment with an immigration attorney at (972) 642-7900.

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