After several delays, the federal government has finally released guidelines about how DREAMers can begin to apply for deferred action starting August 15. The federal government is beginning the public rollout of information after Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced on June 15 that the Obama administration would halt, immediately, the deportations of those who would be eligible for the federal DREAM Act, a narrow legalization bill aimed at young undocumented immigrants who immigrated to the U.S. as children and were raised in the country. Along with the deportation halt the federal government has made an allowance for those who are eligible to receive two-year work permits, with an opportunity to renew work permits for another two years.
As of August 15, those eligible for deferred action, and a two-year work permit are those who:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
In order to be granted the two-year protection from deportation, DREAMers will have to pay a $465 fee, pass background checks and offer up biometric data, as well as clear other paperwork hurdles.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency within the Department of Homeland Security handling this process, has pledged to keep confidential the information that DREAMers provide in their applications. On a media call with reporters today a senior administration official pledged that DREAMers’ information will not be shared with the enforcement side of DHS unless DREAMers commit fraud by lying on their applications, or unless it turns out that applicants have serious criminal records. The official acknowledged that unless DREAMers have a sure guarantee of privacy, they’re likely not to come forward to take advantage of the process.