President Obama announced today that effective immediately “DREAMers” who meet the following criteria are eligible to receive “Deferred Action” for two years if they:

  1. They came to the United States under the age of 16;
  2. They have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum [June 15, 2012] and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
  3. They are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  4. They 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. They are not above the age of 30.

“Deferred action” means exactly what is sounds like: DHS (Department of Homeland Security) will defer removal actions in the exercise of favorable “prosecutorial discretion”.   Individuals who meet the five requirements listed above and are given “deferred action” are eligible to apply for a work permit.  It should be noted that “deferred action” neither is not lawful status nor is it a “green card”.  Under the new executive order, “deferred action” may be renewed every two years, assuming that the individuals continue to demonstrate their eligibility. 


Individuals who are not currently in removal proceedings but are qualified for “deferred action” based on the five criteria above should do the following:

  • Do “something” to prove that they are in the U.S. today, such as use a credit card, purchase something and keeping the receipt, go to the doctor, or take a dated photo in front of a recognizable U.S. landmark;
  • Do gather documents and evidence to prove that they meet every one of the five criteria listed above.
  • Do not pay any money to file paperwork today.  DHS will provide guidance on filing procedures in within the next 60 days.  There is “nothing” to file today.  

This news is surely welcomed by many, but caution should be exercised as we await further development.  There are many things that are still unclear, such as what the application process will be or the cost of such a process.  We will continue to monitor any new developments in this area; subscribe to our blog to receive our updates and analysis.