Dream Act – Deferred action for childhood arrivals
The DREAM Act is not law, but it sure feels like it is. DREAM (or technically called the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) is a federal bill intended to provide conditional permanent residency to select illegal aliens who could demonstrate 1) good moral character, 2) who graduated from U.S. high schools, 3) who arrived in the United States as minors, and 4) who lived in the U.S. for at least five years prior to the bill’s enactment. If they were to complete two years in the military or two years at a U.S. college, they would obtain temporary residency for 6 years.
Within the six-year period, they could qualify for “non-conditional” but rather for permanent residency if they acquired a U.S. college degree, or completed at least 2 years of college in the United States, or “served honorably in the armed services for at least 2 years. This bill would have included illegal immigrants as old as 35 years of age.
This act however was not passed and is not law. In June 2012, the president provided notice that DHS would not remove aliens in this situation. On August 15, 2012, the president further authorized temporary legal status to people who would have otherwise qualified for the Dream Act, had it passed. At the writing of this blog post, forms, rules, and standards have not been published but are expected to be available on August 15, 2012.
A relevant DHS press release included this information:
DHS Outlines the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process
USCIS is to begin accepting requests for consideration of deferred action on August 15, 2012
WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security today provided additional information on the deferred action for childhood arrivals process during a national media call in preparation for the August 15 implementation date.
On June 15, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that certain young people who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines may be eligible, on a case-by-case basis, to receive deferred action. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is finalizing a process by which potentially eligible individuals may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals.
USCIS expects to make all forms, instructions, and additional information relevant to the deferred action for childhood arrivals process available on August 15, 2012. USCIS will then immediately begin accepting requests for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals.
Information was shared outlining the proposed following highlights:
• Requestors – those in removal proceedings, those with final orders, and those who have never been in removal proceedings – will be able to affirmatively request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals with USCIS.
• Requestors will use a form developed for this specific purpose.
• Requestors will mail their deferred action request together with an application for an employment authorization document and all applicable fees to the USCIS lockbox.
• All requestors must provide biometrics and undergo background checks.
• Fee waivers cannot be requested for the application for employment authorization and biometric collection. However, fee exemptions will be available in limited circumstances.
• The four USCIS Service Centers will review requests.
Additional information regarding the Secretary’s June 15 announcement will be made available on www.uscis.gov on August 15, 2012. It is important to note that this process is not yet in effect and individuals who believe they meet the guidelines of this new process should not request consideration of deferred action before August 15, 2012. Requests submitted before August 15, 2012 will be rejected.