The Obama Administration announced today that the Department of Homeland Security will begin granting deferred action to undocumented youth and young adults who were brought to the United States as small children and who have been raised and educated in the United States. This announcement builds on the prosecutorial discretion initiatives already announced by the White House and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). However, this announcement signifies an important shift in policy as persons granted deferred action will be eligible for work authorization in the United States.
Deferred action is not permanent legal status or citizenship but rather a temporary indication that the government will not seek to remove a person from the country and will allow the person to obtain employment authorization while in the United States. The Obama administration’s policy is likely a way to create time and space for congress to act to reform the immigration system to grant a more permanent solution for people who were brought to the United States as children and who do not have criminal records. The grant of deferred action will be issued on a case-by-case basis and is renewable every two years.
According to DHS, deferred action will be offered to young people between the ages of 15-30 who came to the U.S. before the age of 16 and have been in the country for at least five years, have no criminal history, and are in the country as of today. More information will follow as it becomes available. Please contact our office should you have questions regarding this exciting new announcement.
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