At a USCIS Stakeholder Conference on August 3, 2012, Director Mayorkas announced some additional details about the Deferred Action program which was presented on June 15, 2012.
He confirmed that applicants will be able to apply as of August 15, 2012 if they meet the following requirements:
1. The person is under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
2. The person came to the US before his/her 16th birthday
3. The person continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007
4. The person entered without inspection or lawful status expired before June 15, 2012
5. The person currently is in school or obtained a GED or diploma from high school or was honorably discharged
6. The person was not convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or 3 or more misdemeanors
He went on to describe some key terms and questions. For instance, the earliest someone can file is age 15. In regard to continuous residence, a brief casual and innocent departure prior to August 15, 2012 will NOT break continuous residence. This typically has been interpreted as less than 90 days. However, any international travel after August 15, 2012 WILL break continuous residence. Finally, currently in school means must be enrolled in school at the time file the application.
The filing fee will be $465 which is supposed to include the application for employment authorization and biometrics as well. The form has not been released yet but will be on August 15, 2012.
He also elaborated on which criminal convictions will be permissible or not. First, a felony conviction will make you ineligible whether it is federal, state or local. A felony is defined as an offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
Secondly, a significant misdemeanor is one for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days and that meets the following criteria:
1. Regardless of the sentence imposed, is an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence (this clearly states that even 1 DUI conviction will make a person ineligible for Deferred Action); or,
2. If not an offense listed above, is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of more than 90 days. The sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and therefore does not include a suspended sentence.
Finally, 3 or more misdemeanor convictions will also make one ineligible for Deferred Action.
The Director also stated that regardless of the rules above, USCIS can still review the totality of the situation to determine if criminal convictions would make a person ineligible. A person with a criminal history should definitely seek an immigration attorney to assist them to determine eligibility.
For a great Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on this program go to www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals
And stay tuned for August 15th for actual filing details.