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Obama administration to grant deferred action and work permits to young undocumented immigrants

by Cedric M. Shen

June 15, 2012 | 10:24 am

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization. 

In order to be eligible for deferred action, individuals must:

- Have entered the United States prior to the age of sixteen;
- Have continuously resided in the United States for at least the past five years, and are currently in the United States;
- Currently be in school; have graduated from high school; have obtained a GED certificate; or have been honorably discharged from service in the Coast Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces;
- 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;
- Be thirty (30) years old or younger.

It should be noted that individuals eligible for deferred action are not eligible for lawful status (permanent residency or citizenship).  Further, it does not absolve individuals of any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence.  It also does not provide dependents or immediate relatives with work authorization or deferred action.

All eligible applicants will be required to undergo a background check and biometrics.  Applicants will also have to provide documentation to prove that he/she meets the eligibility requirements.  Documentation can include financial records, medical records, school records, employment records or military records.

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