As anyone who even pays passing attention to the news now knows, on June 15 the Department of Homeland Security announced that certain individuals who were brought to the United States as children and meet specific criteria will be considered for relief from being placed in deportation or removal proceedings and may qualify for the issuance of a work permit. This is not amnesty, does not create a pathway to citizenship, and does not result in a change of status. It is merely a temporary solution to a problem that ultimately will need to be permanently served by the Congress.
To be eligible to apply for such “deferred action” (which is a temporary reprieve from deportation), an individual must meet the following criteria:
1. The individual must have been under the age of 16 when he/she came to the United States;
2. The individual must have been present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and must have resided in the United States on a continuous basis for five years prior to June 15, 2012;
3. The individual must be in school at the time of the application, must have graduated from high school, must have obtained a GED certificate, or must be an honorably discharged veteran of the Armed Forces;
4. The individual must not have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to public safety or national security; and
5. The individual must not have reached his/her 31st birthday as of June 15, 2012.
If deferred action is granted, the individual then may apply to USCIS for employment authorization.