Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, has announced that DHS will implement a program for granting “deferred action” to undocumented youth, decided on a case-by-case basis, to those who meet the eligibility requirements. The program covers most immigrants who would qualify under the Obama administration’s stalled Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act which would provide immigrants who came to the U.S. as children a pathway to permanent citizenship if passed into law.
The program is intended to help undocumented young people who were brought to the United States as infants or children. To be eligible, an individual must have arrived to the U.S. under the age of 16 and must be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. Further, applicants must have continuously resided in the U.S. for at least five years, have a high school diploma or G.E.D., or otherwise, must currently be enrolled in school or have been honorably discharged from the military. Individuals must not have been convicted of select crimes or be a threat to national security.
Those with no legal status and are eligible will receive a two-year reprieve from being deported, which can be renewed. While under this reprieve, qualified individuals will gain the ability to work, as well as other benefits, such as being able to obtain a driver’s license and a Social Security number. The government will begin accepting applications online on August 15th.