Recently, the federal government announced a new process for some individuals to gain authorization to work after requesting consideration of deferred action. On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security outlined the “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” plan. The new process will allow some people the opportunity to remain in the United States for a period of at least two years, with the chance to apply for a renewal thereafter.
“Deferred action” means the government will choose not to pursue a removal action against the individual, even though he or she is not in lawful status. Although the individual will not gain lawful status through the process, he or she will be able to remain in the U.S. and gain authorization to work in the country.
To qualify for deferred action, a number of requirements must be met. The individual must have come to the U.S. before he or she turned 16 years old and must have been under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012. In addition, the applicant must have lived continuously in the U.S. since, at least, June 15, 2007. Other physical conditions must be met — the person must have been in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, but not in lawful immigration status at that time. The individual must also have been in the country when he or she filed the request for consideration of deferred action with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The individual’s criminal background will be reviewed in making the deferred action determination, and it must be established that he or she does not “pose a threat to national security or public safety.”
Finally, certain educational prerequisites must be met. The individual must either:
- Attend high school
- Have graduated from high school
- Obtained a GED
- Have been honorably discharged from the Armed Forces or Coast Guard of the U.S.
Common Scams to Avoid
Unfortunately, with this new process has come a rise in the number of immigration scams established to harm those seeking a way to remain in the United States lawfully. Some people have already started making claims in advertisements that they can speed up the process or guarantee an individual deferred action. Those seeking assistance in applying for deferred action must be vigilant to ensure they are not the victims of immigration scams.
The USCIS specifically stated, “There is no expedited processing for deferred action.” Consequently, if someone promises faster-than-normal results, be wary. In general, if a business says it can “guarantee” certain results, it is best to be cautious. Only the qualified government agency can make immigrationdecisions.
In addition, certain websites that claim to be affiliated with USCISare, in fact, frauds. If the website requests payment for a blank immigration form of any type, do not pay. The blank forms are available through USCIS and a skilled immigration attorney can assist in their completion.
In addition to scams seeking money, some fraudulent enterprises will also make efforts to steal a person’s identity, a practice known as identity theft. Therefore, it is best to be cautious when asked to provide personal information. Never disclose such information in a request via email or on a nongovernmental website.
While many fraudulent businesses exist, knowledgeable immigration attorneys are available to help people properly request deferred action. If you believe you may qualify for deferred action, consulting with an experienced, Florida immigration attorney will ensure your rights are protected.