Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program Set to Commence

The Department of Homeland Security will begin receiving deferred action applications for certain childhood arrivals on August 15th, presuming the forms have been approved by OMB. The program, announced on June 15th, is a programmatic exercise of prosecutorial discretion by the U.S. government for young persons who entered without status or who are now out of status.

The program will go a long way towards removing the day-to-day fear of deportation that as many as 1.7 million young people in the United States have to live with, while also offering these young persons work authorization and opportunity.

The basic requirements for eligibility are that a person:

1.) Came to the United Stat4es before reaching their 16th birthday

2.) Has continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to present time

3.) Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012

4.) Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012

5.) Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained your G.E.D., or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States

6.) Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat

7.) Were present in the United Sates on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making the request for consideration of deferred action.

More details on eligibility can be found at

While the government envisions an application process that will be relatively simple for the typical petitioner, there is potential for adverse action against an applicant, particularly if there is any misrepresentation in the application or if there is a disqualifying criminal history.

Any young person considering application should review the whole of the program carefully, and seek out assistance if necessary. USCIS says there is no right of appeal to a denied application, though a denial will not prohibit the payment of a new fee and submission of a new application. Any past criminality in particular merits very close examination, prior to application.

It is possible that the implementation of the deferred action program will affect timelines for other types of applications. USCIS has significantly increased staffing in anticipation of the 1 million-plus applications that it will receive. However, historically, programs like this have created delays for other types of application adjudications. We’ll just have to wait and see. I’m sure the U.S. Government is taking steps to try to avoid this possibility.