The deferred action initiative, announced by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on June 15, 2012 offers a two-year, renewable reprieve from deportation to unauthorized immigrants who are under the age of 31; entered the United States before age 16; have lived continuously in the country for at least five years; have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three other misdemeanors; and are currently in school, graduated from high school, earned a GED, or served in the military.
Immigrants who meet these criteria are commonly referred to as DREAMers because they comprise most of the individuals who meet the general requirements of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
USCIS and ICE has stated that they will begin accepting affirmative applications by mid-Augustthe immigrant communities are awaiting information about when this affirmative process will be available.
Individuals who face imminent removal from the United States and who believe they can demonstrate that they satisfy the eligibility criteria should immediately contact:
- Law Enforcement Support Centers hotline at 1-855-448-6903 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week);
- ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Offices hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9am 5pm, Monday Friday) or by e-mail at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.
Individuals who meet the following criteria from Secretary Napolitanos June 15, 2012 memorandum will be considered for deferred action:
- Have arrived in the U.S. when they were under the age of sixteen;
- Have continuously resided in the U.S. for at least five years prior to June 15, 2012 and have been present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012;
- 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;
- 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
- Have been under thirty-one years old on June 15, 2012.
The deferred action offer will be available to those in proceedings, as well as those who apply affirmatively. Individuals who are NOT in proceeding should NOT apply affirmatively until after August 15, 2012, when the procedural rules for applying are expected to be released.