Deferred Action Oct Update — Pending Elections

As most readers know, on June 15th the Obama administration announced a new immigration program  — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. While there is not much new information to report, the USCIS FAQ page was updated on Sept. 14, 2012 to provide additional answers to common questions. New questions & answers are highlighted in red with the word ‘New’. Many questions involve complex forms and filing procedures, it is best to contact a experienced Denver immigration attorney to help you understand what it may mean for you.

Deferred Action Recap

The Deferred Action Act provides a means of preventing young immigrants from being deported from the United States. The act allows a 2-year temporary work permit, and the USCIS officially began accepting applications on August 15th. Individuals accepted for deferred action may be eligible for employment authorization. You can read more background information in our Deferred Action August update post.

As of October 10, 2012, USCIS states it has received nearly 180,000 applications, 6,400 were under review and 4,600 were approved. This is a small number of filings given the estimated 1.3 to 1.4 million eligible for the program. Processing times for initial filings was about 45-60 days but will likely slow given the small number processed so far.

Political Considerations

While the Deferred Action Act could provide deportation protection for hundreds of thousands of individuals across the U.S., families should consider the current political atmosphere surrounding the act before applying for deferred action visas.

President Obama authorized the Deferred Action Act via a memorandum that many Republicans called an overreach of executive power. Initially, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney suggested that he would eliminate the Deferred Action program along with the applications of thousands of undocumented immigrants not yet approved by the USCIS. However, Romney revised his position in early October, suggesting that he will honor approved visas until he can replace the act with his own comprehensive immigration reform.

“The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid,” Romney said in an interview with the Denver Post. “I’m not going to take something that [undocumented immigrants] have purchased. Before those visas have expired, we will have the full immigration reform plan that I’ve proposed.” However, his complete reversals in support of and against the DREAM Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals indicate his rhetoric cannot be trusted.

Individuals can collect appropriate documentation and complete USCIS forms I-821D and I-765 to apply for deferred action. However, as visa applications are expensive and involved, undocumented individuals may wish to wait until after the presidential election to apply to determine whether the program will continue past 2012.

As always, if you have additional questions about Deferred Action, you can contact Denver immigration lawyer, Catherine Brown, for more information on this or any other immigration policy.