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FAQ - Questions & Answers about the Obama "Dream Act.

 

Happy Dreamers

It’s clear that the policy will not lead toward citizenship, and is not a comprehensive immigration reform!

 


Frequently Asked Questions about the Obama Dream Act

Who is eligible to receive deferred action under the Department’s new directive?
Pursuant to the Secretary’s June 15, 2012 memorandum, in order to be eligible for deferred action, 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 preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
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;

3. 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;

4. Not be above the age of thirty.

5. 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.

What is deferred action?
Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Deferred action does not confer lawful status upon an individual. In addition, although an individual whose case is deferred will not be considered to be accruing unlawful presence in the United States during the period deferred action is in effect, deferred action does not excuse individuals of any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence.
Under existing regulations, an individual whose case has been deferred is eligible to receive employment authorization for the period of deferred action, provided he or she can demonstrate “an economic necessity for employment.” DHS can terminate or renew deferred action at any time at the agency’s discretion.

What is deferred action for childhood arrivals?
On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization.

Individuals who can demonstrate through verifiable documentation that they meet these guidelines will be considered for deferred action. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis under the guidelines set forth in the Secretary of Homeland Security’s memorandum.

If my removal is deferred pursuant to the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals process, am I eligible for employment authorization?
Yes. Pursuant to existing regulations, if your case is deferred, you may obtain employment authorization from USCIS provided you can demonstrate an economic necessity for employment.

How will the new directive be implemented?

Individuals who are not in removal proceedings or who are subject to a final order of removal will need to submit a request for a review of their case and supporting evidence to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Individuals may request deferred action if they meet the eligibility criteria. In the coming weeks, USCIS will outline and announce the procedures by which individuals can engage in this process. This process is not yet in effect and requests should not be submitted at this time. Beginning June 18, individuals may call the USCIS hotline at 1-800-375-5283, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with questions or to request more information on the new process. The hotline offers assistance in English and Spanish. Individuals seeking more information on the new process should visit USCIS’s website (at http://www.uscis.gov).

For individuals who are in removal proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, ICE will, in the coming weeks, announce the process by which qualified individuals may request a review of their case. Additional information is available from the ICE Office of the Public Advocate at http://www.ice.gov/about/offices/enforcement-removal-operations/publicadvocate/ Beginning June 18, individuals may call the ICE hotline at 1-888-351-4024, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with questions or to request more information on the new process.

For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria as part of ICE’s case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

Are individuals who receive deferred action pursuant to the new directive eligible for employment authorization?

Yes. Pursuant to existing regulations, individuals who receive deferred action may apply for and may obtain employment authorization from USCIS provided they can demonstrate an economic necessity for their employment. .

Does the process result in permanent lawful status for beneficiaries?

No. The grant of deferred action under this new directive does not provide an individual with permanent lawful status or a pathway to obtaining permanent lawful status. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer the right to permanent lawful status.

Why will deferred actions only be granted for two years?

Grants of deferred action will be issued in increments of two years. At the expiration of the two year period, the grant of deferred action can be renewed, pending a review of the individual case.

If an individual’s period of deferred action is extended, will individuals need to re-apply for an extension of their employment authorization?

Yes. If an individual applies for and receives an extension of the period for which he or she was granted deferred action, he or she must also request an extension of his or her employment authorization.

Does this policy apply to those who are subject to a final order of removal?

Yes. An individual subject to a final order of removal who can demonstrate that he or she meets the eligibility criteria can request a review of his or her case and receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. All cases will be considered on an individualized basis.

This process is not yet in effect and requests should not be submitted at this time. In the coming weeks, USCIS will outline and announce the procedures by which individuals can engage in this process. Beginning June 18, individuals may call the USCIS hotline at 1-800-375-5283, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with questions or to request more information on the new process. The hotline offers assistance in English and Spanish. Individuals seeking more information on the new process should visit USCIS’s website (at http://www.uscis.gov).

How soon after USCIS receives a request to review a case will the individual receive a decision on his or her request?

USCIS will provide additional information on this issue in the coming weeks. Information will be made publicly available at http://www.uscis.gov/.

If an individual who is about to be removed by ICE believes he or she satisfies the eligibility criteria for the new process, what steps should he or she take to ensure his or her case is reviewed before removal?

Individuals who believe they can demonstrate that they satisfy the eligibility criteria and are about to be removed should immediately contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center’s hotline at 1-855-448-6903 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday) or by e-mail at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

If an individual who satisfies the eligibility criteria is encountered by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or ICE, will he or she be placed into removal proceedings?

This policy is intended to allow ICE and CBP to focus on priority cases. Pursuant to the direction of the Secretary of Homeland Security, for individuals who satisfy the eligibility criteria, CBP or ICE should exercise their discretion to prevent them from being apprehended, placed into removal proceedings, or removed. If individuals, including individuals in detention, believe they were placed into removal proceedings in violation of this policy, they should contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center’s hotline at 1-855-448-6903 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday) or by e-mail at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

If an individual accepted an offer of administrative closure under the case-by-case review process or if his or her case was terminated as part of the case-by-case review process, can he or she receive deferred action under the new process?
Yes. Individuals who can demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria will be eligible for deferred action even if they had accepted an offer of administrative closure or termination under the case-by-case review process. For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria as part of ICE’s case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

If an individual declined an offer of administrative closure under the case-by-case review process, can he or she receive deferred action under the new process?

Yes. Individuals who can demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria will be eligible for deferred action even if they declined an offer of administrative closure under the case-by-case review process.

If an individual’s case was reviewed as part of the case-by-case review process but he or she was not offered administrative closure, can he or she receive deferred action under the new process?

Yes. Individuals who can demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria will be eligible for deferred action even if they were not offered administrative closure following review of their case as part of the case-by-case review process.

Will DHS personnel responsible for reviewing requests for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this process receive special training?

Yes. ICE and USCIS personnel responsible for considering requests for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under the Secretary’s directive will receive special training.

Will individuals be subject to background checks before they can receive an exercise of prosecutorial discretion?

Yes. All individuals will undergo biographic and biometric background checks prior to receiving an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Individuals who have been convicted of any felony, a significant misdemeanor offense, three or more misdemeanor offenses not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety are not eligible to be considered for deferred action under the new process.

What do background checks involve?

Background checks involve checking biographic and biometric information provided by the individuals against a variety of databases maintained by DHS and other federal government agencies.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual came to the United States before the age of 16?

Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she came to the United States before the age of 16 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 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.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States?

Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States includes, but is not limited to: report of separation forms, military personnel records, and military health records.

What steps will USCIS and ICE take to prevent fraud in the new processes?

An individual who knowingly makes a misrepresentation to USCIS or ICE, or knowingly fails to disclose facts to USCIS or ICE, in an effort to receive deferred action or work authorization in this new process will be treated as an immigration enforcement priority to the fullest extent permitted by law, subjecting the individual to criminal prosecution and/or removal from the United States.

Are individuals with a conviction for a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanors eligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this new process?

No. Individuals who have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or three or more other misdemeanor offenses not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct are not eligible to be considered for deferred action under the new process.

What offenses qualify as a felony?
A felony is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

What offenses qualify as a “significant misdemean or”?

A significant misdemeanor is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by no more than one year of imprisonment or even no imprisonment that involves: violence, threats, or assault, including domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary, larceny, or fraud; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; obstruction of justice or bribery; unlawful flight from arrest, prosecution, or the scene of an accident; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or unlawful possession of drugs.

How many non-significant misdemeanors constitute “multiple misdemeanors” making an individual ineligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this new process?

An individual who is not convicted of a significant misdemeanor but is convicted of three or more other misdemeanors not occurring on the same day and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct is not eligible to be considered for deferred action under this new process.

What qualifies as a national security or public safety threat?

If the background check or other information uncovered during the review of an individual’s request for deferred action indicates that the individual’s presence in the United States threatens public safety or national security, he or she will be ineligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Indicia that an individual poses such a threat include, but are not limited to, gang membership, participation in criminal activities, or participation in activities that threaten the United States.

How will ICE and USCIS handle cases involving individuals who do not satisfy the eligibility criteria under this new process but may be eligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under the June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda?

If an individual has a final order of removal and USCIS determines that he or she does not satisfy the eligibility criteria, then it will reject the individual’s request for deferred action. That individual may then request an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under the ICE June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda through any of the established channels at ICE, including through a request to the ICE Office of the Public Advocate or to the local Field Office Director. USCIS will not consider requests for review under the ICE June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda.

If an individual is currently in removal proceedings and ICE determines that he or she does not satisfy the eligibility criteria for deferred action under this process, it will then consider whether the individual is otherwise eligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under its current practices for assessing eligibility under the June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda.

Will there be supervisory review of decisions by ICE and USCIS under this process?

Yes. Both ICE and USCIS will develop protocols for supervisory review as part of their implementation of the new process.

Can individuals appeal a denial by ICE or USCIS of their request for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under the new process?

No. Individuals may not appeal a denial by ICE or USCIS of their request for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. However, ICE and USCIS will develop protocols for supervisory review as part of their implementation of the new process. Although there is no right for appeal, individuals in removal proceedings who believe their cases were not correctly handled may contact the ICE Office of the Public Advocate either by phone at 1-888-351-4024 or by e-mail at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

Will dependents and other immediate relatives of individuals who receive deferred action pursuant to this process also be eligible to receive deferred action?

No. The new process is available only to those who satisfy the eligibility criteria. As a result, the immediate relatives, including dependents, of individuals who receive deferred action pursuant to this process are not eligible to apply for deferred action as part of this process unless they independently satisfy the eligibility criteria.

If an individual’s request to USCIS for deferred action is denied, will he or she be placed in removal proceedings?

For individuals whose requests for deferred action are denied by USCIS, USCIS will apply its existing Notice to Appear guidance governing USCIS’s referral of cases to ICE and issuance of notices to appear. Under this guidance, individuals whose requests are denied under this process will be referred to ICE if they have a criminal conviction or there is a finding of fraud in their request.

Should individuals who are not in removal proceedings but believe themselves to be eligible for an exercise of deferred action under this process seek to place themselves into removal proceedings through encounters with ICE or CBP?

No. Individuals who are not in removal proceedings but believe that they satisfy the eligibility criteria should submit their request for review of their case to USCIS under the procedures that USCIS will implement.

This process is not yet in effect and requests should not be submitted at this time. Beginning June 18, individuals may call the USCIS hotline at1-800-375-5283, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with questions or to request more information on the new process. The hotline offers assistance in English and Spanish. Individuals seeking more information on the new process should visit USCIS’s website (at http://www.uscis.gov).

If I receive deferred action through this process, will I be able to travel outside the United States?

USCIS is exploring this issue and will resolve it in the coming weeks as part of its implementation plan.

Will there be any exceptions to the requirement that an individual must have resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012?

An individual must demonstrate that he or she has resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012. Brief and innocent absences undertaken for humanitarian purposes will not violate this requirement.

What should I do if I am eligible under this process and have been issued an ICE detainer following an arrest by a state or local law enforcement officer?

If you meet the eligibility criteria and have been served a detainer, you should immediately contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center’s hotline at 1-855-448-6903 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate either through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday) or by e-mail at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

Does deferred action provide individuals with a path to citizenship or permanent legal status?

No. A grant of deferred action is a form of prosecutorial discretion that does not confer a path to citizenship or lawful permanent resident status. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

Why isn’t DHS allowing other individuals to request deferred action under this process?

As a general matter, young people who, through no fault of their own, were brought to this country as children, lacked the intent to violate the law and our ongoing review of pending removal cases is already offering administrative closure to many of them. However, additional measures are necessary to ensure that our enforcement resources are not expended on these low priority cases but are instead appropriately focused on people who meet our enforcement priorities.

Does this Administration remain committed to comprehensive immigration reform?

Yes. The Administration has consistently pressed for passage of comprehensive immigration reform, including the DREAM Act, because the President believes these steps are critical to building a 21st century immigration system that meets our nation’s economic and security needs.

Does this process apply to me if I am currently in removal proceedings, have a final removal order, or have a voluntary departure order?
This process is open to any individual who can demonstrate he or she meets the guidelines for consideration, including those who have never been in removal proceedings as well as those in removal proceedings, with a final order, or with a voluntary departure order (as long as they are not in immigration detention). If you are not in immigration detention and want to affirmatively request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals, you must submit your request to USCIS – not ICE – pursuant to the procedures outlined below. If you are currently in immigration detention and believe you meet the guidelines you should not request consideration of deferred action from USCIS but should identify yourself to your detention officer or contact the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday) or by email at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

Do I accrue unlawful presence if I have a pending request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals?
You will continue to accrue unlawful presence while the request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals is pending, unless you are under 18 years old at the time of the request. If you are under 18 years old at the time you submit your request but turn 18 while your request is pending with USCIS, you will not accrue unlawful presence while the request pending. If your case is deferred, you will not accrue unlawful presence during the period of deferred action. Having action deferred on your case will not excuse previously accrued unlawful presence.

If my case is deferred, am I in lawful status for the period of deferral?
No. Although action on your case has been deferred and you do not accrue unlawful presence during the period of deferred action, deferred action does not confer any lawful status.

There is a significant difference between “unlawful presence” and “unlawful status.” Unlawful presence refers to a period an individual is present in the United States (1) without being admitted or paroled or (2) after the expiration of a period of stay authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (such as after the period of stay authorized by a visa has expired). Unlawful presence is relevant only with respect to determining whether the inadmissibility bars for unlawful presence, set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act at Section 212(a)(9), apply to an individual if he or she departs the United States and subsequently seeks to re-enter. (These unlawful presence bars are commonly known as the 3- and 10-Year Bars.)

The fact that you are not accruing unlawful presence does not change whether you are in lawful status while you remain in the United States. Because you lack lawful status at the time DHS defers action in your case you remain subject to all legal restrictions and prohibitions on individuals in unlawful status.

Does deferred action provide me with a path to permanent residence status or citizenship?
No. Deferred action is a form of prosecutorial discretion that does not confer lawful permanent resident status or a path to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

Will my immediate relatives or dependents be considered for deferred action for childhood arrivals?
No. The new process is open only to those who satisfy the guidelines. As such, immediate relatives, including dependents of individuals whose cases are deferred pursuant to the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals process, may not be considered for deferred action as part of this process unless they independently satisfy the guidelines.

Can I be considered for deferred action even if I do not meet the guidelines to be considered for deferred action for childhood arrivals?
This process is only for individuals who meet the specific guidelines announced by the Secretary. Other individuals may, on a case-by-case basis, request deferred action from USCIS or ICE in certain circumstances, consistent with longstanding practice.

Will the information I share in my request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals be used for immigration enforcement purposes?
Information provided in this request is protected from disclosure to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the purpose of immigration enforcement proceedings unless the requestor meets the criteria for the issuance of a Notice To Appear or a referral to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the criteria set forth in USCIS’s Notice to Appear guidance (www.uscis.gov/NTA). Individuals whose cases are deferred pursuant to the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals process will not be referred to ICE. The information may be shared with national security and law enforcement agencies, including ICE and CBP, for purposes other than removal, including for assistance in the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals, to identify or prevent fraudulent claims, for national security purposes, or for the investigation or prosecution of a criminal offense. The above information sharing policy covers family members and guardians, in addition to the requestor.

This policy, which may be modified, superseded, or rescinded at any time without notice, is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any administrative, civil, or criminal matter.

Does this Administration remain committed to comprehensive immigration reform?
Yes. The Administration has consistently pressed for passage of comprehensive immigration reform, including the DREAM Act, because the President believes these steps are critical to building a 21st century immigration system that meets our nation’s economic and security needs.

Is passage of the DREAM Act still necessary in light of the new process?
Yes.The Secretary’s June 15th memorandum allowing certain people to request consideration for deferred action is the most recent in a series of steps that DHS has taken to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety. Deferred action does not provide lawful status or a pathway to citizenship. As the President has stated, individuals who would qualify for the DREAM Act deserve certainty about their status. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer the certainty that comes with a pathway to permanent lawful status.

How old must I be in order to be considered for deferred action under this process?

If you have never been in removal proceedings, or your proceedings have been terminated before your request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals, you must be at least 15 years of age or older at the time of filing and meet the other guidelines.
If you are in removal proceedings, have a final removal order, or have a voluntary departure order, and are not in immigration detention, you can request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals even if you are under the age of 15 at the time of filing and meet the other guidelines.
In all instances, you cannot be the age of 31 or older as of June 15, 2012 to be considered for deferred action for childhood arrivals.

Does “currently in school” refer to the date on which the request for consideration of deferred action is filed?
To be considered “currently in school” under the guidelines, you must be enrolled in school on the date you submit a request for consideration of deferred action under this process.

Do brief departures from the United States interrupt the continuous residence requirement?
A brief, casual, and innocent absence from the United States will not interrupt your continuous residence. If you were absent from the United States for any period of time, your absence will be considered brief, casual, and innocent, if it was before August 15, 2012, and:

1. The absence was short and reasonably calculated to accomplish the purpose for the absence;
2. The absence was not because of an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal;
3. The absence was not because of an order of voluntary departure, or an administrative grant of voluntary departure before you were placed in exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings; and
4. The purpose of the absence and/or your actions while outside the United States were not contrary to law.

May I travel outside of the United States before USCIS has determined whether to defer action in my case?
No. After August 15, 2012, if you travel outside of the United States, you will not be considered for deferred action under this process. If USCIS defers action in your case, you will be permitted to travel outside of the United States only if you apply for and receive advance parole from USCIS.

Any travel outside of the United States that occurred before August 15, 2012, will be assessed by USCIS to determine whether the travel qualifies as brief, casual and innocent (see above).

Note: If you are in unlawful status and/or are currently in removal proceedings, and you leave the United States without a grant of advance parole, you will be deemed to have removed yourself and will be subject to any applicable grounds of inadmissibility if you seek to return.

Travel Guidelines

Travel Dates Type of Travel Does it Affect Continuous Residence

Before August 15, 2012

  • brief

  • casual

  • innocent 

No

  • For an extended time

  • Because of an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal

  • To participate in criminal activity

Yes

After August 15, 2012 and before you have requested deferred action

  • Any

Yes. 
Yes. You cannot travel while your request is under review.
You cannot apply for advance parole unless and until DHS has determined whether to defer action in your case.

After August 15, 2012 and after you have requested deferred action

  • Any

 

If my case is deferred pursuant to the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals process, will I be able to travel outside of the United States?
Not automatically. If USCIS has decided to defer action in your case and you want to travel outside the United States, you must apply for advance parole by filing a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document and paying the applicable fee ($360). USCIS will determine whether your purpose for international travel is justifiable based on the circumstances you describe in your request. Generally, USCIS will only grant advance parole if you are traveling for humanitarian purposes, educational purposes, or employment purposes. You may not apply for advance parole unless and until USCIS defers action in your case pursuant to the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals process. You cannot apply for advance parole at the same time as you submit your request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals. All advance parole requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


If I have a conviction for a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanors, can I receive an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this new process?
No. If you have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or three or more other misdemeanor offenses not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct, you will not be considered for deferred action under the new process except where DHS determines there are exceptional circumstances.


What offenses qualify as a felony?
A felony is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.


What offenses constitute a significant misdemeanor?
For the purposes of this process, a significant misdemeanor is a misdemeanor as defined by federal law (specifically, one for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days) and that meets the following criteria:

  1. 1. Regardless of the sentence imposed, is an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; or,

  2. 2. If not an offense listed above, is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of more than 90 days. The sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and therefore does not include a suspended sentence.

The time in custody does not include any time served beyond the sentence for the criminal offense based on a state or local law enforcement agency honoring a detainer issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Notwithstanding the above, the decision whether to defer action in a particular case is an individualized, discretionary one that is made taking into account the totality of the circumstances. Therefore, the absence of the criminal history outlined above, or its presence, is not necessarily determinative, but is a factor to be considered in the unreviewable exercise of discretion. DHS retains the discretion to determine that an individual does not warrant deferred action on the basis of a single criminal offense for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or less.


What offenses constitute a non-significant misdemeanor?
For purposes of this process, a non-significant misdemeanor is any misdemeanor as defined by federal law (specifically, one for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days) and that meets the following criteria:

  1. 1. Is not an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; and

  2. 2. Is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or less. 

The time in custody does not include any time served beyond the sentence for the criminal offense based on a state or local law enforcement agency honoring a detainer issued by ICE.  Notwithstanding the above, the decision whether to defer action in a particular case is an individualized, discretionary one that is made taking into account the totality of the circumstances.  Therefore, the absence of the criminal history outlined above, or its presence, is not necessarily determinative, but is a factor to be considered in the unreviewable exercise of discretion. 


If I have a minor traffic offense, such as driving without a license, will it be considered a non-significant misdemeanor that counts towards the “three or more non-significant misdemeanors” making me unable to receive consideration for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this new process?
A minor traffic offense will not be considered a misdemeanor for purposes of this process. However, your entire offense history can be considered along with other facts to determine whether, under the totality of the circumstances, you warrant an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. 
It is important to emphasize that driving under the influence is a significant misdemeanor regardless of the sentence imposed.


Will offenses criminalized as felonies or misdemeanors by state immigration laws be considered felonies or misdemeanors for purpose of this process?
No.  Immigration-related offenses characterized as felonies or misdemeanors by state immigration laws will not be treated as disqualifying felonies or misdemeanors for the purpose of considering a request for consideration of deferred action pursuant to this process.


Will DHS consider my expunged or juvenile conviction as an offense making me unable to receive an exercise of prosecutorial discretion?
Expunged convictions and juvenile convictions will not automatically disqualify you. Your request will be assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine whether, under the particular circumstances, a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion is warranted. If you were a juvenile, but tried and convicted as an adult, you will be treated as an adult for purposes of the deferred action for childhood arrivals process.


What qualifies as a national security or public safety threat?
If the background check or other information uncovered during the review of your request for deferred action indicates that your presence in the United States threatens public safety or national security, you will not be able to receive consideration for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion except where DHS determines there are exceptional circumstances. Indicators that you pose such a threat include, but are not limited to, gang membership, participation in criminal activities, or participation in activities that threaten the United States.


Can I request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals under this process if I am currently in a nonimmigrant status (e.g. F-1, E-2, H-4) or have Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
No. You can only request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals under this process if you currently have no immigration status and were not in any lawful status on June 15, 2012.


If I am not in removal proceedings but believe I meet the guidelines for an exercise of deferred action under this process, should I seek to place myself into removal proceedings through encounters with CBP or ICE?
No. If you are not in removal proceedings but believe that you meet the guidelines you should submit your request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals to USCIS under the process outlined below.

Cases in Other Immigration Processes


Will I be considered to be in unlawful status if I had an application for asylum or cancellation of removal pending before either USCIS or the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) on June 15, 2012?
Yes.  If you had an application for asylum or cancellation of removal, or similar relief, pending before either USCIS or EOIR as of June 15, 2012, but had no lawful status, you may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals.


Can I request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS if I am in immigration detention under the custody of ICE?
No.  If you are currently in immigration detention, you may not request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS. If you think you may meet the guidelines of this process, you should identify yourself to your detention officer or contact the ICE Office of the Public Advocate so that ICE may review your case.  The ICE Office of the Public Advocate can be reached through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9 a.mm – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday) or by email at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov


If I am about to be removed by ICE and believe that I meet the guidelines for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals, what steps should I take to seek review of your case before removal?
If you believe you can demonstrate that you meet the guidelines and are about to be removed, you should immediately contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center’s hotline at 1-855-448-6903 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday) or by email at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.


If individuals meet the guidelines for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals and are encountered by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or ICE, will they be placed into removal proceedings?
This policy is intended to allow CBP and ICE to focus on priority cases. Pursuant to the direction of the Secretary of Homeland Security, if an individual meets the guidelines of this process, CBP or ICE should exercise their discretion on a case-by-case basis to prevent qualifying individuals from being apprehended, placed into removal proceedings, or removed. If individuals believe that, in light of this policy, they should not have been placed into removal proceedings, contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center’s hotline at 1-855-448-6903 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday) or by email at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.


If I accepted an offer of administrative closure under the case-by-case review process or my case was terminated as part of the case-by-case review process, can I be considered for deferred action under this process?
Yes. If you can demonstrate that you meet the guidelines, you will be able to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals even if you have accepted an offer of administrative closure or termination under the case-by-case review process. If you are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the guidelines and warranting discretion as part of ICE’s case-by-case review, ICE already has offered you deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.


If I declined an offer of administrative closure under the case-by-case review process, can I be considered for deferred action under this process?
Yes. If you can demonstrate that you meet the guidelines, you will be able to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS even if you declined an offer of administrative closure under the case-by-case review process.


If my case was reviewed as part of the case-by-case review process but I was not offered administrative closure, can I be considered for deferred action under this process?
Yes. If you can demonstrate that you meet the guidelines, you will be able to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS even if you were not offered administrative closure following review of you case as part of the case-by-case review process.


How will ICE and USCIS handle cases involving individuals who do not satisfy the guidelines of this process but believe they may warrant an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under the June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda?
If USCIS determines that you do not satisfy the guidelines or otherwise determines you do not warrant an exercise of prosecutorial discretion, then it will decline to defer action in your case. If you are currently in removal proceedings, have a final order, or have a voluntary departure order, you may then request ICE consider whether to exercise prosecutorial discretion under the ICE June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda through any of the established channels at ICE, including through a request to the ICE Office of the Public Advocate or to the local Field Office Director. USCIS will not consider requests for review under the ICE June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda.


What should I do if I meet the guidelines of this process and have been issued an ICE detainer following an arrest by a state or local law enforcement officer?
If you meet the guidelines and have been served a detainer, you should immediately contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center’s hotline at 1-855-448-6903 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate either through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday) or by email at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

Avoiding Scams and Preventing Fraud


Someone told me if I pay them a fee, they can expedite my deferred action for childhood arrivals request, is this true?
No. There is no expedited processing for deferred action. Dishonest practitioners may promise to provide you with faster services if you pay them a fee. These people are trying to scam you and take your money. Visit our Avoid Scams page to learn how you can protect yourself from immigration scams.
Make sure you seek information about requests for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from official government sources such as USCIS or the Department of Homeland Security. If you are seeking legal advice, visit our Find Legal Services page to learn how to choose a licensed attorney or accredited representative.


What steps will USCIS and ICE take if I engage in fraud through the new process?
If you knowingly make a misrepresentation, or knowingly fail to disclose facts, in an effort to have your case deferred or obtain work authorization through this new process, you will be treated as an immigration enforcement priority to the fullest extent permitted by law, and be subject to criminal prosecution and/or removal from the United States. 

 

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