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Blog: Deferred Deportation for Childhood Arrivals

Aug 15, 2012 | By Sr. Mary Ellen Lacey, D.C.

On June 15, 2012, Janet Napolitano announced that undocumented youth who were less than 31 years old on that date and had come to the United States before they were 16 years old may be eligible to apply for deferred deportation and work authorization. They must also meet other criteria, including length of residence and education requirements, and there are criminal background limitations. 

As of August 15, 2012, if they meet all delineated qualifying criteria, they may file a request with a specified USCIS office for deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.  If deferred action is granted, the individual would then be eligible for work authorization.  While data varies, it is safe to say that about 1.5 million undocumented young people seem to qualify for this life enhancing administrative action.

NETWORK reinforces its support for this bold and long awaited Administrative relief.  Unfortunately, this relief does not provide a path to citizenship and is not available to all childhood arrivals.  As such, NETWORK continues to lobby for DREAM ACT and, ultimately, comprehensive Immigration Reform.

For list of specific qualifying criteria, deadlines and forms, see www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals

Take note of the following process issues and specifics at the above site.   

  • Individuals must demonstrate through “verifiable documentation” that they meet the outlined criteria and make their request to the USCIS on three established forms which can be found on the above website.  When completing the forms, applicants should review the detailed instructions for each form to ensure compliance with requirements.   
  • In addition, applicants wanting to be notified by e-mail or text message that their forms have been accepted should also submit Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petitioner Acceptance.
  • There is a $465 fee, which covers the cost of a biometric check, the background check for applicants and checking each application on a case-by-case basis for fraud.   This fee requirement should quiet the GOP complaints of increased cost to the USA for implementing the program.  A receipt will be issued to those who submit the proper payment with the forms. 
  • The forms and documentation are to be mailed to a specific USCIS office for each geographical area that can be located on the USCIS website. 
  • If, upon initial review the packet is deemed complete, the individual will receive a letter informing him/her to report for biometric testing.  A background check will follow.  This does not mean that the individual has been approved. Rather, it means that the packet of information has been accepted as complete. 
  • If all continues to go well, the packet will be reviewed and the individual will be notified of the decision within “several months” according to one high ranking USCIS official. 

Do You Need a Lawyer?  In the early stages of this roll out, criminal history, prior deportation orders and arrests are causes for pause.

  • The forms and process can be completed without an attorney and no attorney has special connections that will hasten someone’s chances of receiving deferred action.  If an attorney makes such a promise, he/she should not be paid and the USCIS hotline should be notified of any promises related to outcomes. This is a case by case review and nothing is certain until the process is completed.
  • While the process is clear on the website, there are many nuances.  If an applicant has any criminal background or has ever been arrested or taken into custody, consult a reputable immigration attorney. 
  • Although USCIS states that family information on the applications will not be shared with ICE, it does note that information may be shared with other national and law enforcement agencies for perceived criminal activity, possibility of fraud or even leniency.  Immigrant applicants should consult a reputable attorney if these facts exist in their history or family.
  • Avoid notaries who tell you repeated deportations or misdemeanors are not important or they “know someone who can help you.”
  • The means by which the criminal history piece will be practically applied is not proven yet.  All reviews are on a case by case basis and, if a criminal issue is to be reported, the immigrant should seek a pre submission review by a known immigration attorney.