The new policy does not provide any way to apply for a work permit (EAD) or a new way to acquire legal status. Instead, it provides for the creation of a high-level working group made up of Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice officials to review cases already pending before the immigration courts and administratively close all those considered “low” priority cases. Low priority cases—previously identified in a prosecutorial discretion memo issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton on June 17—include persons who are not criminals and have been in the country since childhood, have strong community ties, are veterans or relatives of persons in the armed services, are caregivers, have serious health issues, are victims of crime or otherwise have a strong basis for remaining in the United States. It is important to note that a person whose case is administratively closed is still in removal proceedings. Administrative closure is NOT legal status. It is simply a temporary suspension of an immigration court case. Yet, the Administration’s announcement said that if a case is administratively closed, the individual will be able to apply for a work permit “EAD”. But there are no details, guidelines or instructions on how to apply for an EAD, or who will be eligible for an EAD.
Therefore, although the August 18, 2011 announcement has been welcomed as good news by DREAM students, military families, victims of crime, and many other individuals who pose no threat to public safety and may receive temporary suspension from removal, it was preliminary and nothing has been implemented yet.