Deferred action for DREAMers
Photo: Carol Fouke-Mpoyo
Church World Service immigration legal services network helps “DREAMers” with information, applications for deferred action
Beginning on August 15, undocumented youth – “DREAMers” – who meet certain conditions will be able to apply for relief from the threat of deportation. Church World Service immigration legal services professionals are helping potential beneficiaries to understand the application process and the many requirements.
Thanks to special funding from participating denominations, Church World Service will waive its $45 intake fee for the first 100 applicants who are seen in its New York City offices. It will also waive its fees for the first 75 applicants seen in its Miami offices, the first 35 seen in its Lancaster (Pa.) offices, and the first 75 seen in its Greensboro (N.C.) offices. Applicants will still be responsible for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fees for both the deferred action application and the work permit application.
Photo: Carol Fouke-Mpoyo
“DREAMers” take their name from the “Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors” (DREAM) Act, proposed federal legislation that would offer permanent legal status to eligible immigrant young people.
Deferred action for DREAMers, announced June 15, offers temporary relief from deportation (two years, renewable) and the opportunity to apply to work legally in the United States. “Until then, no one should apply for deferred action under this announcement,” said Erol Kekic, Director of the Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program. “Premature applications will be rejected.”
Kekic further cautioned DREAMers to avoid perpetrators of frauds and scams – such as “notarios,” who cannot legally practice law in the United States. Consult only with an attorney who practices immigration law, a BIA-accredited representative at a recognized agency, or a paralegal supervised by an attorney before applying for any immigration benefit,” he said.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on August 3 provided important updated information about “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” Beginning August 15, 2012, DHS announced, individuals who meet the following criteria will be able to request deferred action:
- On June 15, 2012, you were under 31 years of age; and
- You came to the U.S. before reaching your 16th birthday; and
- You have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, and continue to reside in the U.S.; and
- You were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and you are physically present in the U.S. at the time of making your request for deferred action; and
- You entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012; and
- You are currently in school on the date you submit your request for deferred action; or you graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school; or obtained a GED certificate; or are an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces; and
- You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanor offenses; and
- You are not a threat to the national security or public safety.
Deferred action is not automatic; DHS can deny an application based on its discretion even if the applicant meets the eligibility criteria. Persons granted deferred action under this announcement will be eligible for a work permit if they can demonstrate an economic necessity for employment.
There is a lot more DREAMers need to know about deferred action. Following are links to additional resources assembled by the Church World Service Immigration Legal Services Program in New York City.
CWS’s New York City immigration legal services office serves the tri-state area with high quality low-cost immigration legal services to anyone needing assistance, regardless of the person’s country of origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, creed, or immigration status. CWS attorneys speak Spanish, French and English, and handle a variety of cases. For more information or to make an appointment, call 212-870-2814.
Click here for the other immigration legal services offices in the CWS network.