Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses
yearning to breathe free...”
Emma Lazarus - The New Colossus
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DREAMer Deferred Action
On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced that certain classes of young immigrants otherwise known as DREAMers would be granted deferred action if they met certain requirements.
The requirements are as follows:
- Must have come to the U.S. under the age of 16
- Must have continuously resided in the U.S. for at least 5 years prior to June 15, 2012
- Must have been present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
- Must be currently in school, have graduated high school, have obtained a GED or be an honorably discharged veteran.
- Must not be convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, multiple misdemeanors or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety
- and must be under the age of 31.
What do these requirements mean? Let's address them one by one.
The first one is self-explanatory.
An important point to pay attention to in the second requirement is that the applicant must have lived in the U.S. continuously for 5 years. It is unclear if short trips outside the U.S. would break this continuity. Another issue with this elements is proof. Applicants must be able to prove their residence in the U.S. This could be done through school record, medical records, bills, tax returns and any other evidence that places the person in the United States for that particular period of time.
On the third requirement potential applicants must make sure to document their physical presence here on June 15, 2012. Since we are not too far after this date it is a good idea to save every scrap of paper from that period of time even if it is a credit card receipt or a photo in front of a well recognized landmark with a current newspaper, whatever.
The schooling requirement poses several problems. It is unclear whether applicants will be required to have their education completed or currently be in school on the day of announcement (June 15, 2012) or whether they can enroll now in a GED program. Either way, I would still recommend to all my clients that they enroll in school or a GED program as soon as possible. There are other issues whether home schooling or home schooling like programs qualify. These issues are treated more in depth here.
The military requirement, although well intentioned, is probably useless. The U.S. military does not enlist undocumented youth. As such the number of people being undocumented and in need of this deferred action and having an honorable discharge is close to zero if not zero. For more information see here.
The issue of criminal history also leaves many things unanswered. There are uncertainties as to what will be considered a significant misdemeanor (although there has been indications that a DWI would probably fit in this category) and whether traffic violations such as driving without a license will be included in the misdemeanors list since many state consider them as misdemeanors.
The age issue was confirmed that it is under 31 so those who are already 30 but have not turned 31 can still take advantage of this. It does not appear extension will be given to those who turn 31 after being granted this deferred action.
Our office is currently scheduling free seminars and clinics for interested applicants to come and find out more about what is to come. This page will be updated periodically as new clinics are scheduled. The upcoming ones are as follows:
Mars Hill Church Albuquerque
4700 San Mateo Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 11:00 AM.
Stay tuned for more information to come. This page will be updated periodically. If you have questions call our office at 505-352-6660.