In what is surely good news for thousands of young immigrants, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is expected to announce their intention to grant quasi-legal status (called “deferred action”) to applicants meeting the following specific criteria:
- Be 15-30 years old, and have entered the U.S. before age 16
- Have been present in the U.S. for 5 years as of June 15, 2012
- Have maintained continuous residence
- Have not been convicted of one serious crime or multiple minor crimes
- Be currently enrolled in high school, graduated or have a GED, or have enlisted in the military
Deferred Action would not grant these applicants any permanent status in the US—or even a path to a permanent status—but it would allow for legal work authorization and, importantly it would allow this population to come out from the shadows. A recent Boston Globe article will provide you with some additional information. Further details regarding eligibility and implementation are forthcoming and we encourage anyone who knows a person who might benefit from this policy change to await further guidance before acting.