What is the Obama administration’s deferred action program?

by George Barron

On June 15, 2011, the Obama administration announced that is would stop deporting certain undocumented immigrants, specifically undocumented immigrants who entered the US when they were children and have been here for a specific length of time – and that it would let those immigrants get permission to work in the US.

Let’s start with what the Obama administration’s deferred action is not.  It is not amnesty.  It is not the Dream Act.  It is not a path to permanent residence or citizenship.

The Obama administration’s deferred action plan is available for aliens in removal proceedings, and will be made available for aliens who are not in removal proceedings, through some type of application process with the USCIS.  We do not yet know what this will look like, or what the application process will involve.

We do know that applicants will need proof that they have been in the US for the specified time, and proof that they are in school or that they finished school.

Immigrants may apply for a two-year renewable grant of “deferred action” if they entered the United States before age 16; are younger than 30; have lived continuously in the United States for at least five years; have not been convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor; and are currently in school, have graduated from high school or earned a GED, or served in the military.

There are millions of people in the United States who were brought here by their parents as children, many of whom do not even know their home country.  We as a nation should give these individuals a chance to participate fully in this society.  The Obama administration’s deferred action plan is a small step in the right direction.  Hopefully more steps will follow.

If you need help with this or any other immigration matter, contact me.  

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