Historic Deferred Action Process Underway

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On August 15, 2012, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process (DACA). Below is information on how to apply for Deferred Action, links to the applications, plus information about events where you can learn more and receive free legal assistance.

Around 40,000 young people in Washington State could be eligible for Deferred Action, ranking Washington State in the top ten nationwide. We strongly encourage individuals to get help from qualified attorneys or through free legal clinics being offered across the state.

  • What is Deferred Action? Deferred Action is a type of administrative relief that defers removal action of an individual and permits work authorization for those who qualify. However, Deferred Action does not confer lawful permanent resident status or a path to citizenship. After a two-year period, individuals can apply for renewal.
  • Who is eligible? See these helpful resources: USCIS flowchart and National Immigrant Justice Center's eligibility self-assessment. Deferred Action will be granted on a case-by-case basis. Eligible individuals must meet the following requirements; however, meeting these requirements does not guarantee that DHS will grant you Deferred Action:
    • Came to the U.S. before your 16th birthday;
    • Have continuously resided in the U.S. for at least five years before June 15, 2012;
    • Be present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012;
    • Be at least 15 years old; however, if you are currently in deportation proceedings or have a deportation order, you can apply for deferred action even if you are not yet 15 years old;
    • Be 30 years old or younger as of June 15, 2012;
    • Currently in school, have received a high school diploma or GED, or been honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces or the Coast Guard;
    • Have not been convicted of a felony, “significant misdemeanor,” multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety (Note: DHS defines “significant misdemeanor” to include crimes involving “violence, threats, or assault, including domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary, larceny, or fraud; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; obstruction of justice or bribery; unlawful flight from arrest, prosecution, or the scene of an accident; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or unlawful possession of drugs.”);
    • Pass a background check.
  • Who do apply with? All requests should be sent to USCIS except for people currently in detention - you should apply thru Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Individuals in ICE detention must request deferred action directly from ICE by contacting the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9am-5pm, Monday – Friday) or by email at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov
  • What's the cost? The total fees will be $465, no fee waiver will be available. In a few instances, a fee exemption may be given for youth who are homeless, in foster care, are chronically disabled or have over $25,000 in medical bills in the last year AND are under 150% of the poverty line. Requests for fee exemptions must be submitted prior to a request for deferred action.
  • What if my request is denied? There is no opportunity to appeal a denial of deferred action unless you can prove that you were denied based on a lack of evidence and you did not receive the request for evidence support. If USCIS declines to grant deferred action, cases involving a criminal offense, fraud, or a threat to national security or public safety will be referred to ICE for enforcement purposes.  
  • Where can I get help? OneAmerica is hosting Town Halls across the state to provide information about the Deferred Action process. Meanwhile, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) and the Washington State Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) are holding large workshops around the state where individuals will receive information followed by an opportunity to consult with an attorney or qualified legal representative about their situation. For complete details on how to enroll for free legal help, see www.nwirp.org/dreamer or call 1-855-31-DREAM. We strongly advise individuals to seek legal assistance and to beware of using immigration specialists and notarios (public notaries) who are not licensed to practice law or provide legal advice.
  • How can I host a legal clinic or town hall in my community? Call OneAmerica's hotline: 206-452-8430, or email dreamers@weareoneamerica.org.
  • USCIS resources: http://www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals and USCIS hotline: 800-375-5283

OneAmerica will be updating this page regularly as we learn new information. Thanks to the National Immigration Forum and National Immigration Law Center for providing some of these details.

Background on Deferred Action

On June 15, 2012, the Obama administration announced it would grant some undocumented youth relief from deportation, benefiting an estimated 800,000 young people across the United States, including 40,000 in Washington State.

After years of advocacy by immigration groups, including OneAmerica, the Obama Administration took a step that Congress had been unable to accomplish by enabling many undocumented youth to stay in the United States without fear of deportation. Those who demonstrate that they meet certain criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.

This is a time for celebration, demonstrating the power of the immigrant voice and the result of the courage and tireless effort of the DREAMers and immigrant communities across the country!

We must also be wary of unfulfilled government promises, plus notarios and uninformed lawyers offering poor advice and questionable support. Be careful about the advice you get—reach out to trusted resources as you proceed.

Questions? Fill out the form below.

Factsheet for DREAMers

What does this announcement mean?

If you are an undocumented youth that qualifies for deferred action, it means that you have a chance to live and work in the United States for the next two years, with extensions available. If you are in removal proceedings now, you may qualify for this relief and have a chance to stay in the U.S.

Where can I get more resources?

  • There is a lot of detailed information on this USCIS page.
  • Call OneAmerica's hotline: 206-452-8430, or email questions to dreamers@weareoneamerica.org.
  • Talk to a lawyer that specializes in immigration law. Do not get legal advice from notarios or other non-lawyers. Getting legal advice from people that do not understand the law can get you into a lot of trouble and can even get you deported.
  • Stay connected to OneAmerica. Make sure you fill out the form below and you will recieve updates about Deferred Action.

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