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How do I apply for DREAM Deferred Action? (Hint: Not Quite Yet)

How do I apply for DREAM Deferred Action? (Hint: Not Quite Yet)

THE BELOW DACA DEFERRED ACTION INFORMATION HAS BEEN SUPERSEDED! SEE OUR BLOG POST USCIS to Start Accepting DREAMer Childhood Arrivals Deferred Action Applications on August 15, 2012

The Department of Homeland Security on June 15, 2012 announced the creation of a deferred action program for undocumented youths and young adults (commonly called DREAMers) who may apply to remain in the United States for a period of two years and obtain work authorization, be renew their status every two years.

Our office has received many calls regarding deferred action for DREAMers, and about whether they or their children qualify. Here is a brief overview of the requirements:

  • Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of this
  • memorandum and are present in the United States as of June 15, 2012;
  • Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education
  • development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed
  • Forces of the United States;
  • Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple
  • misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
  • Not be above the age of thirty.

Individuals must also complete a background check and, for those individuals who make a request to USCIS and are not subject to a final order of removal, must be 15 years old or older.

DHS plans to start up the program within 60 days, or prior to August 14, 2012. USCIS Director Mayorkas instructed however that no applications should not be filed prior to the programs upcoming start date. This makes sense, DHS has not provided instructions on the necessary application forms, or stated whether there would be an associated USCIS filing fee. If the application is based on the I-765 Employment Authorization form, we might speculate a filing fee of $380.00. No word yet however on what the fee actually will be.

What can I do now to apply for Deferred Action?

That said, applicants can now begin to put together the required evidence to prove they qualify for Deferred Action. I expect DHS to require proof of the Applicant's identity, so obtaining a passport and/or certified copies of a birth certificate is a good idea.

DHS has also offered its suggestions on other evidence to provide, which are followed by my two-cents on the subject. For instance, DHS has indicated that applicants may submit financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual has resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012?

Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she has resided in the United States for at five years immediately preceding June 15, 2012 includes, but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual was physically present in the United States as of June 15, 2012?

Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she was physically present on June 15, 2012, the date the memorandum was issued, includes, but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual is currently in school, has graduated from high school, or has obtained a general education development certificate (GED)?

Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she is currently in school, has graduated from high school, or has obtained a GED certificate includes, but is not limited to: diplomas, GED certificates, report cards, and school transcripts.

USCIS has stated that it is are extremely concerned about fraud. That said, certain documents will be more convincing than others that the evidence you are submitting is authentic. Regarding employment records, IRS Forms W-2 and printed paystubs are more convincing that handwritten employment letters and IRS Form 1040 tax returns. Preprinted official school report cards and official school transcripts likewise are more convincing than letters from teachers or photocopies of school certificates. Because we are now in the middle of summer break, schools might be significantly impacted as they try to turn around transcript requests.

Additionally, bank, financial and credit card statements, home, auto and health insurance statements, hospital, utility and phone bills,and pre-printed dated rent receipts also provide reliable evidence, as do dated medical records. By handing in more reliable documents, your increase your chances of avoiding a request for additional evidence (RFE) and can avoid unnecessary delays in obtaining employment authorization. The Applicant's U.S. marriage certificate, divorce decrees, and birth certificates of the Applicant's children are also helpful. If you don't have these documents, do not worry. An experienced immigration lawyer can help you come up with alternative solutions.

As a final note, because the criminal grounds of disqualification are so broad, I would recommend to everyone to do a criminal background check before applying. These background check are not to be submitted with the application, as USCIS will be taking your fingerprints after you've applied. Instead, it's to make sure you fully qualify for deferred action. Because many applicants will have had at least some minor run-ins with the law, it's best to apply with your eyes open, and be 100% clear on the risks of applying. If you then end up with doubts about applying, you should to speak with an experienced immigration attorney, who can then figure out whether you actually qualify for Deferred Action.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. Each legal case is different, and the cases described herein do not constitute a prediction or guarantee of success or failure in any other case. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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