obama immigration reform Obama’s administration may be expanding the deferred action program, also known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, to more individuals and parents of US citizens and permanent residents. This program, however, does not provide a path to citizenship and is not guaranteed. Nevertheless, you might be interested in understanding what the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is and how you might be able to participate.

The program is intended for illegal immigrants (people who are in America without any visas or status) who came when they were a child and stayed in America since. If you came here legally when you were an adult and overstayed your visa, this is not for you. If you are looking to come to America, this is not for you. This is for a very specific group of people who came to America as a child through illegal methods and are in America without any documentation or status. Currently, the program is only for people who are:

  • At least 15 years old
  • Have resided in America continuously since June 15, 2007
  • Are under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012
  • Came to America before 16 years old
  • Have graduated from high school or obtained a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the military
  • Not convicted of any crimes such as felony, more than 3 misdemeanors or significant misdemeanors. 

If all of the above conditions apply to you, it must be all, then you can submit the following forms to USCIS for consideration of the deferred action.

  • I-821D Application for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival
  • I-765 Application for Employment Authorization
  • I-765WS Worksheet for Application for Employment Authorization
  • Application fee: $465 ($380 processing fee plus $85 biometrics fee)

The following is a list of possible supporting documents that you can use to help get accepted into the program.

Proof of Identity:

  • Passport or national identity document from your country of origin.
  • Birth certificate with photo identification.
  • School or military identification with photo.
  • Any U.S. government immigration document or other document bearing your name and photo.

Proof you came to the U.S. before your 16th birthday:

  • Passport with admission stamp.
  • Form I-94/I-95/I-94W.
  • School records from the U.S. schools you have attended.
  • Any Immigration and Naturalization Services or DHS document stating your date of entry [Form I-862, Notice to Appear].
  • Travel records.
  • Hospital or medical records.

Proof of immigration status:

  • Form I-94/I-95/I-94W with authorized stay expiration date.
  • Final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal issued as of June 15, 2012.
  • A charging documentation placing you into removal proceedings.

Proof you continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007:

  • Employment records. (Pay stubs, W-2 Forms, etc.)
  • School records (letters, report cards, etc.)
  • Military records (Form DD-214 or NGB Form 22)
  • Official records from a religious entity confirming participation in a religious ceremony
  • Birth Certificate of U.S.C. children
  • Deeds, mortgages, rental agreement contracts

Proof of your Student Status at the time of Requesting Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals:

  • School records (transcripts, report cards, etc.) from the school that you are currently attending in the United States showing the name(s) of the school(s) and periods of school attendance and the current educational or grade level
  • U.S. High School Diploma or Certificate of Completion
  • U.S. GED Certificate

The only benefit of the deferred action program is to get fully legal work authorization so that you can begin working in America. If you attended college, you can use this to get jobs in companies and hopefully the law will expand that you can apply for H-1B visas or even green cards through your job. This is not possible at the time of writing but it may change. The other “benefit” is the actual deferred action, meaning that you will not be deported for at least 2 years. After 2 years, the law may change and you might still be deported.

In 2014, Obama is expected to announce expansions of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to allow more people to apply. This includes:

  • Changing the date of initial entry from June 2007 to June 2010. This means that anyone who came in before June 2010 will be able to apply. So before this expansion, if you came into America in 2008 or 2009, you would not qualify. 
  • Allowing parents of US citizens or permanent residents to be in deferred action. This means that those people who are in America illegally but have children who have legal status (such as parents who came to America illegally and had a child born in America) and also be considered for deferred action. These parents will be eligible for work authorization and also would not be deported for at least 2 years.

There are strong Republican oppositions to this expansion and laws can change at any time. For the most updated situations and immigration policies, always check the DHS/USCIS website for information. Good Luck!

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