Posts Tagged ‘DREAM Act’

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The New Dream Act/Deferred Action; What Does It Mean for You?

August 12, 2012

Next week the new immigration laws regarding young immigrants will finally be revealed in full.  What does this mean for us? Although these laws may help some, the regulations seem to exclude more people than they help.  They leave a lot of uncertainty and worry amongst potential applicants as well. 

The new laws will be available to those who are in an illegal status at this time, and who entered the US prior to their 16th birthday.  Thus, those who were already 16 upon entry are excluded. Unfortunately, we have come across several clients who missed this deadline by a few days or a few weeks. Should a person be excluded from DREAM because they were 16 years old and three weeks when their parents brought them here?  It seems a bit of an arbitrary cut-off.

The applicant also has to have lived in the US for at least five years continually with only brief interruptions. The burden will be on the applicant to prove they have been present in the US for at least the last five years. This can be proved by showing medical records, school records, phone bills, or other documentary evidence regarding physical presence in the United States.  The rules seemingly indicate that the applicant may have left the US for brief periods of time, yet there is no hard and fast rule as to what will constitute "brief" absences.   Will the old "Fleuti" doctrine of 180 days apply? Or will DREAMERS be held to a stricter standard? Hopefully, more concrete guidance will be released next week with respect to the new laws.

Those applying must currently be between the ages of 15 and 30.  I have had clients cut off by being both too young or by being too old. It’s a shame that someone who fits all the other requirements can miss benefiting from the law because they turned 30 a few months ago or because they are now 14.

The law will also require applicants to  be currently enrolled in a high school program, or completed HS or a GED. They can also be enrolled in college or serving in the military in some instances. We have also come across persons who never finished high school. They had to work to help support their family or to send money back to their family at home. They do not speak English or even know they could attend school here. These persons may too be excluded. Some persons are enrolling  in high school now or starting to enroll in local or online GED programs. I bet the organizations that offer GEDs are seeing a sudden boon in enrollees. But will enrollment in a GED program be sufficient to meet the requirements of this law? The law says persons may be "currently enrolled" in high school to qualify. So will such GED programs suffice? It will be interesting to find this out.

What about those who have been arrested? Those with more than one arrest or any "significant" crime may not be eligible for relief under the law. Then what will happen if they choose to apply and are denied? Will they be placed in removal proceedings? Will they be deported? Presumably not. But I am not yet convinced that this will ultimately be the case. Anyone with more than a traffic ticket should be extremely careful of this law and consult an immigration attorney prior to applying.

So what will the new law provide to applicants? Those who "pass" all these tests will get a work permit for two years. With this permit they will be able to get a social security number and renew or obtain a drivers license.  This relief will need to be renewed every two years. It does not grant residency or lead to a green card. Spouses are not automatically included. Your children are not necessarily included. The law does not legalize a person or permit them to change status. 

The filing free will be $465 total per application.  The forms and filing procedures will be released next week. Those already in removal proceedings may also apply with USCIS

The real question everyone wants to know is whether those who apply are at risk of deportation in case of a change in the administration. While we are told that  applicants who are denied relief are not being turned over to ICE for removal, the effects of the law remain to be seen.  One USCIS officer in Connecticut actually warned us to tell clients not to apply under the law. What does she know that we do not know?  Hopefully she was just being overly cautious.  To be continued after the regulations are released next week.

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DHS to offer deferred action to DREAMers

June 15, 2012

DHS will formally announce this morning that it will offer deferred action to DREAMers.
Preliminary information indicates that eligible applicants must:

  • Be 15-30 years old, and have entered before age 16
  • Have been present in the U.S. for 5 years as of June 15, 2012
  • Have maintained continuous residence
  • Have not been convicted of one serious crime or multiple minor crimes
  • Be currently enrolled in high school, graduated or have a GED, or have enlisted in the military

The deferred action offer will be available to those in proceedings as well as to those who apply affirmatively.
The White House is expected to make a formal announcement this afternoon at 1:15 EST.
AILA will provide further details today.

If you need assistance with an Immigration matter in NY, contact Susan B. Henner at (914) 358-5200 now for a free consultation and more information.