Friday, June 15, 2012

Important Benefit For Young Persons Unlawfully Present In The US

Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced a new benefit of great importance to persons who are not older than 30 years of age and who were brought to the U.S. unlawfully before they reached the age of 16. Those who satisfy the criteria set out in this new policy will be afforded deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, on efforts to remove them from the country or entering into removal proceedings. More importantly, the Department of Homeland Security will provide work authorization to individuals who qualify for this benefit. Under the new directive announced today, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for an exercise of deferred action on a case by case basis:

  • Entered the U.S. before the age of 16
  • Have continuously resided in the U.S. for at least 5 years and are present as of today's announcement
  • Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a GED or are honorably discharged veterans of the armed forces
  • Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses or otherwise pose a threat to national security or pubic safety
  • Are not above the age of 30
While this policy takes effect immediately, implementation of the application process for eligible beneficiaries is not expected to be completed for another sixty days. Please contact an immigration attorney to learn more about this policy. You can reach me at or call my office at 317/684-0099. If you believe you may be eligible for this benefit, you would be wise to meet with a qualified attorney to begin documenting your eligibility so you are prepared to apply when the policy is implemented in the next two months. While this proposal is not as comprehensive as the Dream Act proposed by Congress, it still provides an important benefit to young people who were brought to the U.S. unlawfully through no choice of their own. It is also important to understand that this benefit does not grant a person permanent resident status or a path to citizenship. Legislation, such as the Dream Act, will still need to be passed by Congress to provide a permanent solution for affected individuals.

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