NAICU Washington Update

U.S. Immigration Outlines New Deferred Action Process

August 30, 2012

The U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) held a conference call for educators on August 28 to promote a greater understanding of the new deferred action process for those who arrived in the United States illegally as children.  Colleges could be approached by qualifying students for documentation purposes.

In general, individuals may be considered for deferred status if they meet the following 7 requirements as outlined on the USCIS website.

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching their 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of requesting consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or their lawful immigration had status expired by June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or have been honorably discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

To apply for deferred status, individuals will need to provide documentation to prove both educational attainment and that they were in the country during the required period of time.  The USCIS anticipates that college transcripts could be a key tool for applicants, and colleges should be prepared to help students obtain these records.  While the USCIS anticipates that many submitted records will be informal, they emphasized that more official records - such as transcripts - will make the process smoother.

The USCIS has developed an FAQ section on its Deferred Action web page with guidance on some of the more common questions about the process, which was announced on June 15 and went into effect on August 15.

The USCIS also seeks educators' help in directing students away from scams they expect to emerge by those preying on deferred status candidates.  In particular, officials emphasize that there is no charge for the three federal forms to be filed, no expedited process, and no waiver of the $465 fee.  Websites or individuals indicating otherwise should serve as a red flag of potential scam.  The USCIS website has a list of licensed attorneys and accredited agents for those who need additional services.

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