Yesterday, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified for a House Committee on the Judiciary hearing titled “Oversight of the Department of Homeland Security.” In her testimony she clarified the eligibility criteria for deferred action for individuals intending to apply under the new policy that was announced on June 15, which many see as an alternative to the DREAM Act, stating that:
In order to be considered for deferred action under this policy, individuals must: 1) have come to the United States under the age of sixteen; 2) have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years and have been physically present in the United States on the date of our announcement on June 15; 3) either be currently in school, a graduate of a U.S. high school or a recipient of a Certificate of High School Equivalency, or an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; 4) not have been convicted of either a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and 5) be younger than 31 as of June 15, 2012.
Therefore, even individuals who are 31 or older when they submit their deferred action requests or have their requests adjudicated will be eligible as long as they were under 31 on June 15. It also is assumed that those individuals initially granted deferred action will be able to seek renewal of deferred action even after their 31st birthdays.
Secretary Napolitano added that USCIS guidance on deferred action and the application process is expected to be issued by August 1, 2012 and that eligible undocumented immigrants will be able to start affirmatively applying for deferred action from August 15, 2012. Watch this space for further updates!
On August 7, 2012, we will be conducting a FREE WEBINAR that will go through the basics of deferred action, the USCIS application process and potential pitfalls/issues that must be considered before making an application. Please click here to register.
Additional resources regarding deferred action, in addition to the full video from the judiciary hearing, can be found on our website.