Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. It does not confer lawful status upon an individual. Also, an individual who has been granted deferred action is eligible to receive employment authorization for the period of deferred action, if he or she can demonstrate “an economic necessity for employment.”
Individuals who are not in removal proceedings but believe that they satisfy the eligibility criteria should submit their request for review of their case to USCIS under the procedures that USCIS will implement.
The application process for deferred action is not yet available. So, if you believe you are eligible you should be gathering the necessary information and start putting together all your documentation.
First, in order to confirm your eligibility, I suggest consulting an immigration attorney. As a general guideline, in order to be eligible individuals must:
1. Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen;
2. Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding June 15, 2012 and are present in the United States on June 15, 2012; (Brief and innocent absences undertaken for humanitarian purposes will not violate this requirement)
3. Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
5. Not be above the age of thirty.
Individuals must also complete a background check and be 15 years old or older to make a request to USCIS.
If you meet the eligibility requirement, then you can start gathering the documentation you will have to submit as evidence of your eligibility. This includes, but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records, diplomas, GED certificates, report cards, and school transcripts. You should be able to learn more about the application procedures in the upcoming weeks.
Even tough deferred action will provide some relief for so many undocumented young people, this new process does not provide the certainty that the DREAM Act intends to provide. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer the certainty that comes with a pathway to permanent lawful status.