Fairfax, VA (PRWEB) June 18, 2012
The Department of Homeland Security announced a major change to immigration law on Friday, June 15, a new plan which brings nearly one million young immigrants one step closer to living the American Dream.
In the groundbreaking move, the federal government announced that it would no longer seek the deportation of young people now present in the U.S. without legal status, who were brought to the United States as children, and would allow them to apply for work permits if they meet certain criteria.
The new policy became effective immediately. A senior official with the Obama administration said in a conference call with reporters that as many as 800,000 undocumented immigrants stand to benefit from this change.
The new plan does not amount to immunity or amnesty for these young people, and does not provide a path to citizenship or a green card for any of the qualifying immigrants. Instead, the plan allows eligible individuals to obtain "Deferred Action" (protection from deportation) in two-year increments, along with permission to work.
To be eligible, applicants must: (a) be between the ages of 15 - 30; (b) have entered the U.S. before the age of 16; (c) have stayed in the U.S. continuously since entering; (d) have not been convicted of one serious crime or multiple minor crimes; and (e) be currently enrolled in high school, graduated or have a GED, or have enlisted in the military.
This policy shift will essentially accomplish many of the goals of the DREAM Act, an immigration reform bill that has been stalled in Congress over the last two years.
The law firm of Livesay & Myers, P.C. has launched an effort to help as many people as possible who might quality under the plan in Virginia, Maryland or the District of Columbia. Lead immigration attorney Jennifer Varughese is currently offering free 30-minute consultations for anyone who entered the U.S. before the age of 16, is now between ages 15 - 30, and has been in the U.S. for at least 5 years before June 15, 2012.
Ms. Varughese believes the new immigration policy will provide vast numbers of undocumented youth with new hope and optimism. "This is a message to hundreds of thousands of young people living in the U.S. without legal status: it is time to come of out the shadows and leave behind the fear you have known. It is finally possible to fully embrace the American Dream."
Anyone who might benefit from this new plan should consult with a qualified immigration attorney as soon as possible, to discuss eligibility for "deferred status" and how to go about taking advantage of this exciting opportunity.