We are excited to see the Obama administration give hope back ... This action will change the lives of thousands of children and young adults in the U.S. for the better. It helps restore some semblance of sanity to our immigration system.
Atlanta, Georgia (PRWEB) June 16, 2012
This morning, President Obama announced that many undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children would no longer be deported, a significant change in its previously announced prosecutorial discretion program. Mirroring many key principles within the DREAM Act initiative, this signals a major shift in the journey towards better and more fair immigration reform.
“We are excited to see the Obama administration give hope back to innocent children. This action will change the lives of thousands of children and young adults in the United States for the better. It helps restore some semblance of sanity to our immigration system,” Charles Kuck said in reaction to this major change in immigration policy.
Effective immediately (although without a process to use yet), any person who meets the following criteria can be considered for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion, can live free of the fear of deportation, and can get a work permit. For a person to be eligible, they must:
- came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
- has continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012, and is 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.
Here is the really important part: No individual should receive deferred action under this policy unless they first pass a background check and requests for relief pursuant to this memorandum, and are to be decided on a case by case basis. DHS cannot provide any assurance that relief will be granted in all cases. That means that if the persons apply and are denied, they can be placed in removal proceedings, OR if a new President comes in and decides to change the policy, those persons can be put into removal proceedings.
How Will People Apply?
The Secretary of Homeland Security has ordered Immigration and Customes Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to do the following for the following types of people:
1. With respect to individuals who meet the above criteria, ICE and CBP should immediately exercise their discretion, on an individual basis, in order to prevent low priority individuals from being placed into removal proceedings or removed from the United States.
- USCIS is instructed to implement this memorandum consistent with its existing guidance regarding the issuance of notices to appear.
- This means that there is nothing to apply for today. This will likely take, at least for USCIS, at least 60 days to put into effect. Do not trust Notarios, and understand there is nothing to file now.
2. With respect to individuals who are in removal proceedings but not yet subject to a final order of removal, and who meet the above criteria:
- ICE should exercise prosecutorial discretion, on an individual basis, for individuals who meet the above criteria by deferring action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, in order to prevent low priority individuals from being removed from the United States.
- ICE is instructed to use its Office of the Public Advocate to permit individuals who believe they meet the above criteria to identify themselves through a clear and efficient process.
- ICE is directed to begin implementing this process within 60 days of the date of this memorandum.
- ICE is also instructed to immediately begin the process of deferring action against individuals who meet the above criteria whose cases have already been identified through the ongoing review of pending cases before the Executive Office for Immigration Review.
3. With respect to the individuals who are not currently in removal proceedings and meet the above criteria, and pass a background check:
- USCIS should establish a clear and efficient process for exercising prosecutorial discretion, on an individual basis, by deferring action against individuals who meet the above criteria and are at least 15 years old, for a period of two years, subject to renewal, in order to prevent low priority individuals from being placed into removal proceedings or removed from the United States.
- The USCIS process shall also be available to individuals subject to a final order of removal regardless of their age.
- USCIS is directed to begin implementing this process within 60 days of the date of this memorandum.
For individuals who are granted deferred action by either ICE or USCIS, USCIS must accept applications to determine whether these individuals qualify for work authorization during this period of deferred action.
So, what should an undocumented immigrant do right now? First, the should make an appointment and go see an experienced attorney - they should not go to a Notario! Second, the undocumented immigrant should take a picture with a newspaper from June 15, 2012 to document their presence in the United States today. Third, these persons should begin collecting evidence of their physical presence in the United States for the last five years. For most people this will be through school records and tax returns. Finally, those applying for this new provision should relax. There is no ability to apply immediately - at least for those not in removal proceedings. There is no set process yet to follow.
Eligible undocumented immigrants should call the attorneys at Kuck Immigration Partners to assess their eligibility for this relief and to begin the application process.