A Step in the right direction: Young illegal immigrants get a real chance to realize their dreams

By Steve Maggi

As an immigration lawyer, and a former immigrant, President Obama’s June 15th press conference announcing the new initiative called Deferred Action was something I have dreamed of for years. Many of the readers of this newspaper may benefit from the new program, which is why it is important to explain it in detail.

Illegal immigrants fit into two categories: Those who enter the U.S. without inspection and remain, thus becoming “undocumented aliens”, or those who enter with a valid visa but who overstay their authorized stay and become “illegal”. Forming a smaller subgroup are people who come here as children, usually not of their own volition. Deferred Action is a program designed to give people in that subgroup a chance to do something positive with their lives, coming out of the shadows of the illegal world and beginning to fulfill their potential.

My mother brought me to the U.S. from a foreign country when I was five. Because she had been born in the U.S., I was able to remain legally and achieve my dreams. What if she had been born somewhere else and we had been illegal? Therefore, there is a thin line separating me from my clients. My mission as an immigration attorney is also to help as many people as I can achieve those dreams. In order to evaluate whether you or a family member or friend might qualify, here are the essentials of the Deferred Action program:In order to be eligible for deferred action, individuals must:

1) Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen;

2) Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and have been physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012;

3) Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or have been honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;

4) Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;

5) Not be above the age of thirty.Individuals must also complete a background check and, for those individuals who make a request to USCIS and are not subject to a final order of removal, must be 15 years old or older. Illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. as children may finally be able to work, get a driver’s license and a social security number. In order to determine whether you qualify, it is highly recommended that you consult with a specialized immigration lawyer and that you do not under any circumstances apply until the official announcement specifying forms, fees, filing requirements, instructions, and evidentiary documentation to be submitted is made, by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), on or around August 14, 2012.



Posted by on Aug 12 2012. Filed under Community News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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