Immigration Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

You are subject to removal from this country if you are not a U.S. Citizen or in the U.S. in a lawful status. You may have a removal action deferred if:

  • You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
  • You came to the U.S. before reaching your 16th birthday
  • You have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 up to the present time
  • You were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • You entered the U.S. without inspection before June 15, 2012 or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012
  • You are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a GED or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces
  • You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety

It takes collecting documents to prove that you satisfy all the eligibility requirements, completing USCIS forms I-821-D, I-765 and a I-765 worksheet, mailing the properly completed forms and paying $465 in fees to USCIS, and visiting an USCIS office for a bio-metrics check. Your request will then be processed and you will be notified if deferred action has been granted. If so, it defers any action for removal for two years, is subject to renewal, and may allow individuals to qualify for work authorization. It is only a policy and does not impart lawful status. In other words, you are still here illegally, but for at least two years the government promises not to remove you.

Apparent benefits if granted:

  • Stops removal
  • Protects against removal for two years (subject to a change in policy) and can be renewed
  • Once it is granted, it stops the unlawful presence clock from running (a ban from returning to the U.S for anyone who was illegally here for 6 months after the age of 18 (3 year ban) and for one year after the age of 18 (10 year ban)
  • Could allow for lawful employment if you can prove economic necessity

Apparent Problems:

  • If not being removed, this announces your presence to USCIS, but it was promised under the policy that your information would not be shared with the department that handles removal - beware that this promise may not be honored under the current administration
  • Deferred Action does not confer a right to remain, lawful immigration status or a pathway to citizenship
  • You must be able to document your eligibility
  • This policy or any part of it, can be revoked at any time!
  • You should contact an attorney before starting a new application for Deferred Action

For more information, contact Student Legal Services.