Category Archives: DREAM-Act / DACA

Part Two: DREAM Act

“Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2013.” allows for Adjustment of Status for Certain Aliens who entered the U.S. as children.  Applicant must demonstrate that he or she:

  • Has been an RPI for at least five years;
  • Entered initially the U.S. before the age of 16;
  • Has earned a H.S. diploma or GED in the U.S.;
  • Obtained a degree from an institution of higher education or completed at least two years of a bachelor’s program, or served at least four years in Uniformed Services and, if discharged, received an honorable discharge (may be waived for compelling circumstances); and
  • Has provided a list of each secondary school that the applicant attended in the U.S.;
  • Has passed an English/civics test, unless the applicant has a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment; and
  • Has submitted new biometric and biographic data and passed background checks.

Certain Applicants will receive streamlined or enhanced processing:

  • Streamlined adjustment of status procedures for DACA recipients.
  • Allows DREAM Act LPRs to apply for U.S. citizenship immediately upon becoming green card holders.
  • Provides individuals who adjust status under these provisions are not subject to the numerical limitations on visas.
  • Allowed to be charged “in-state” tuition rates at publicly funded institutions of higher learning.

Revised FL-DMV Procedures for “Deferred Action” Applicants.

If DHS has granted deferred action and a work permit has been applied for or approved, these individuals are eligible for issuance. Other documents required would be a valid government-issued document (unless the customer has been issued with the Department since January 1, 2010), two (2) proofs of residential address and proof of social security number (if one has been issued), along with the deferred action letter from DHS.

Furthermore, if the customer is a youth and is seeking a first-time issuance, F.S. 322.095 requires completion of the traffic law substance abuse (TLSA) course or the satisfactorily completed Department of Education driver’s education course.

DHS/USCIS Begins Accepting DEFFERED ACTION Cases Today.

Today, August 15, 2012, USCIS begins to accept Deferred Action cases.

“USCIS has developed a rigorous review process for deferred action requests under guidelines issued by Secretary Napolitano,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “Childhood arrivals who meet the guidelines and whose cases are deferred will now be able to live without fear of removal, and be able to more fully contribute their talents to our great nation.”

Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. USCIS will review requests and make decisions on a case-by-case basis.  While it does not provide lawful status or a pathway to permanent residence or citizenship, individuals whose cases are deferred as part of this process will not be removed from the United States for a two-year period, subject to renewal, and may also apply for employment authorization.

The Deferred Action process appears to be fairly straightforward for most; however issues surrounding the process are not. Each person will, in essence, be revealing him or herself to the government. While DHS has offered some level of assurance regarding confidentiality, those assurances are necessarily weak. Speaking with an immigration attorney before applying is the smart, safe way to go.

  • Because of the complexity of immigration law as a whole, even the simplest process can be fraught with pitfalls. AILA and the immigration lawyer community are rallying to mobilize unprecedented pro bono activity surrounding the Deferred Action initiative.
  • DREAMers, like all Americans, are united by a deep respect for those who work hard for a living and a shared commitment to the country we all call home. These young people study in our schools, play in our neighborhoods, and pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents—sometimes even as infants—and yet they live under the threat of deportation to a country they may know nothing about.
  • This temporary reprieve for DREAMers gives Congress the space to reach a consensus by taking the immediate threat of deportation off the table. Deferred action is not amnesty. Deferred action is not permanent. Deferred action is not a pathway to a green card or citizenship. Deferred action is not legal status. Youth that qualify cannot vote or petition for family members.
  • Under current law people granted deferred action are eligible to apply for work authorization. While living in the United States people must have a way to support themselves—this is not a change in current law.

Please see the page on my website, regarding DEFERRED ACTION.

Some “DEFERRED ACTION” Pointers

1. In a change from the prior announcement, people currently in removal proceedings will use the USCIS process when it is implemented on August 15, 2012, rather than go through ICE. Only individuals in detention will go through ICE to make a deferred action request.

2. Information provided as part of the deferred action request process is protected from disclosure

to ICE or CBP for purposes of removal proceedings unless the requestor meets the criteria of USCIS’ November 2011 NTA memo.

3. If a departure from the U.S. was due to removal, voluntary departure, etc., the absence was not brief, casual and innocent and would interupt the continuous residence that is required since June 15, 2007. Short absences before August 15, 2012, reasonably calculated to accomplish the purpose of the trip, would not be interuptive.

4. Only people who are currently not in status and were not in any lawful status on June 15, 2012 are eligible.

5. A “significant misdemeanor” is one for which the individual was sentenced to more than 90 days, or a conviction for domestic violence, sexual abuse, burglary, firearm violation, drug distribution or trafficking (but not possession), or DUI, regardless of the sentence.

6. Minor traffic offenses, such as driving without a license, are not considered misdemeanors that count toward the “3 or more” standard.

7. The Form I-765 will be required, along with another form that will be made available on August 14 or 15. Total fees, including biometics, will be $465. Fee waivers will not be available, but fee exemptions will be permitted in very limited circumstances, and must be requested and approved before submitting a deferred action application without a fee.

8. Whether a person has reached age 15, and whether the requestor meets the education requirements, will be determined as of the date the request for deferred action is filed, NOT the June 15, 2012 date.

Talking Points on “DREAM Act”

THE DREAM ACT: A CENTRAL ELEMENT OF REFORM
The Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) Act (S. 729/H.R. 1751) is a bipartisan bill that would provide a conditional six-year pathway to legal permanent residence for certain unauthorized youth who, as children, were brought to the U.S. if they: complete high school; demonstrate good moral character; and complete at least two years of higher education or serve for at least two years in the U.S. military. The bill also would also repeal section 505 of the Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Reconciliation Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) that prohibits states from providing any higher education benefit based on residency to unauthorized immigrants unless they provide the same benefit to U.S. citizens in the same circumstances, regardless of their residence.


THE DREAM ACT CAN STRENGTHEN THE U.S. ECONOMY

The students who would benefit under the DREAM Act have been raised and educated in the U.S. and by allowing them to pursue a higher education, we are investing in the future of our country and our economy.
•  Communities, states, and nation would reap significant benefits from the DREAM Act. A RAND study showed that a 30-year-old Mexican immigrant woman who graduated from college will pay $5,300 more in taxes and cost $3,900 less in government expenses each year than if she had dropped out of high school. This amounts to an annual fiscal benefit of over $9,000 every year, money that can be used to pay for the education of others.
•  DREAM Act beneficiaries will make up part of the educated workforce needed to help the U.S. compete in the global economy. In our globalized world, their multilingual and bicultural skills, and contributions are more important than ever to the success and global competitiveness of the United States.

CURRENT LAW PROVIDES NO WAY FOR THESE CHILDREN TO ACHIEVE LEGAL STATUS

•  Due to the undocumented status of their parents and other family members, they have no available avenues for family-based visa sponsorship.
•  Few employers would or could sponsor them for a work visa due to their age and lack of work experience. Even if an employer was willing to sponsor them, the process takes precious years that these children cannot afford to waste.

STATES SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO DETERMINE WHO QUALIFIES FOR IN-STATE TUITION

•  States are required to invest in elementary and secondary education for undocumented children, but can’t collect on the return. However, when states are ready to earn a return on their investment through a highly educated workforce, they are barred from offering in-state tuition to these children. The states (and their taxpayers) have the right to earn this return.
•  States should have the authority to determine how they allocate their resources. Such an educational investment pays dividends for the states by reducing the dropout rate, leading to substantial savings in criminal justice costs and the use of public benefits, and sharply increasing the taxes paid by those benefiting from this initiative. AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 09043072. (Posted 3/19/10).

THIS BILL REFLECTS A BALANCED APPROACH TO REFORM AND MUST BE PART OF ANY COMPREHENSIVE EFFORT TO OVERHAUL OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS

•  This measure would require children to have lived in the U.S. for a number of years and to have no criminal record.
•  This measure would require eligible children to dedicate themselves to learning English and succeeding in our educational system.
•  This measure proposes a one-time only fix that would not encourage illegal immigration.

This measure recognizes that the status quo needs to be reformed by granting children the means to continue their education and legalize their status. Such reform works for children and works for America.

What’s “DEFERRED ACTION” ?

“Deferred action” amounts to an excercise of favorable discretion by the authorities, which allows an individual to remain temporarily in the United States and apply for work authorization. It does not confer any kind of permanent residence, nor can it be seen as a form of amnesty.

Under this new initiative, deferred action would be granted for two year increments and would be renewable.

According to DHS, people may apply for deferred action if they meet all the following criteria:

  • came to the U.S. under the age of 16;
  • are not above the age of 30;
  • have resided in the U.S. for 5 consecutive years as of the date of the memo;
  • are currently in school, have graduated from high school, obtained a GED or have been honorably discharged from the armed forces; and
  • have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanors, multiple misdemeanors or who do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Specifically, DHS advised that:

Effective immediately, ICE, CBP, and USCIS agents should not place individuals into removal proceedings who meet the above criteria.

For those already IN immigration proceedings and who have been offered administrative closure under the previous prosecutorial discretion program, ICE will begin making determinations about deferred action immediately. For other persons who are in removal proceedings, ICE is directed to implement the program within 60 days.

For those NOT in removal proceedings, which is the vast majority of individuals affected by the new announcement, USCIS has been directed to devise a plan within 60 days that allows people 15 and older to affirmatively apply for both deferred action and work authorization (those granted deferred action through ICE will apply to USCIS for work authorization as well). People with final orders of removal will also apply to USCIS.