Can I Come out of the Shadows?


Yes and no. President Obama announced on June 15th, that Immigration will grant Deferred Action to people who would be eligible under the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (commonly known as the “DREAM Act”).  

The President pointed out that DREAMers “are Americans in every way except one – on paper.”  He stated that in the absence of Congressional action on the DREAM Act and on comprehensive immigration reform he has directed the government to focus on enforcement priorities.  Because DREAMers were not at fault in how they entered the country and because they are a low priority for removal from the United States, he directed the Immigration Department (DHS) to grant them Deferred Action so that they will not be deported from the United States. 

What is Deferred Action? Deferred Action is a decision by the Immigration Department to not prosecute or deport a person. It is “an act of administrative convenience to the government which gives some cases lower priority.…”  Immigration has decided that “it’s not in its interest to arrest, charge, prosecute, or remove a person at that time for a specific, articulable reason.”  Deferred Action is not an immigration benefit (like permanent residence or naturalization).  It does not give you legal status.  IT IS NOT A PERMANENT FIX; to the contrary, it is just a temporary measure which can be taken away at any time. It can only be granted by the Immigration Department; not an immigration judge.  After the DHS grants Deferred Action, the person can then apply for a work permit if s/he can establish an economic necessity for work.  Under this policy, if DHS grants Deferred Action, it will be valid for two years with an opportunity to renew.

What are the eligibility requirements for Deferred Action for DREAMers? DREAMers must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  • Has continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of the announcement and was present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
  • Is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  • Has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety; and
  • Is not above the age of thirty.

According to the Immigration Department, it will begin implementing the application process within 60 days (i.e., by August 15th). It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that you do not pay anybody right now for applications. You must consult with me or other immigration attorney before going to the Immigration Department. Please keep in mind that the approval is discretionary and may be denied. If denied, you may be placed in deportation proceedings.

You should keep in mind that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about immigration law.  Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in an immigration case.  Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I handle immigration cases and will be filing applications for DREAMers.  If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York13202. Please look for my next article in the August edition.

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