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Understanding Deferred Action

On June 15, 2012, Secretary Janet Napolitano of the United States Department of Homeland Security announced that certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, who do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and who meet the criteria below will be considered for Deferred Action, which is relief from removal (deportation) from the country or from being placed in removal proceedings.

Individuals receiving Deferred Action will be given this status for two years, subject to renewal, and will also be eligible for employment authorization (work permits).

According to Secretary Napolitano, youth who qualify for deferred action:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;


  2. Came to the United States before reaching their 16th birthday;


  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;


  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of made a request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;


  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or their lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;


  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and


  7. 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.

Deferred Action is now available and individuals can file for it using form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Before filing an application, it is highly recommended that youth attend an educational session and/or legal assistance event to ensure eligibility and that the application is filled out correctly.