DREAM Act and young immigrant eligibility for deferred action

Obama and DREAM Act Guidelines for young aliens or immigrants

Every young immigrant or alien in the United States has by now heard something about President Obama's announcement in June that some are now eligible under the DREAM Act guidelines for Deferred Action.  There are now more questions than answers in regards to this program, so this post will provide short guidelines on how this program may operate.  USCIS has not announced final rules for eligibility yet, so this is only a preliminary assessment and cannot be relied upon as advice until the actual program rules are announced.  Final rules are to be determined by mid-August of this year, so we may have some guidance shortly.

Please keep in mind; due to the political battle over this executive order, eligibility for this program may not last past the November 2012 election.  If you may be eligible for this program, consider acting as soon as rules are issued by the USCIS.

Dream Act Guidelines

Younger immigrants to this country are eligible under this new executive order if you meet the following:

 Arrived in the United States when they were under the age of 16; this applies regardless of whether the arrival was authorized and conducted with a border inspection, or unauthorized and without any inspection;

 Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years prior to June 15, 2012, and were present in the United States on June 15, 2012 (the date of the memorandum);

 Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces;

 Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and

 Are not above the age of 30 by June 15, 2012.  This was later clarified to mean that you must be under age 31, by this date, to be eligible.

The information above must be verifiable and documented, so each applicant must be able to prove these criteria with the following list of documents:

Documentation for DREAM Act criteria

Documentation of presence and residence may include, but is not limited to, financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records. It is unclear what level of documentation will be required, but more guidelines should be announced by DHS shortly.

In the past, documents used to prove these same issues included immigration court records, applications for immigration benefits, correspondence with immigration agencies, I-94 cards, driver’s licenses, birth certificates of children born in the United States, marriage certificates, hospital records, school records, utility bills, tax returns, rental receipts, other dated receipts, bank statements, personal checks bearing a dated bank cancellation stamp, employment records, and credit card statements, among other documents. It may also be possible, if such records are not available, to  submit affidavits attesting to an individual’s presence, or may provide letters from employers and attestations from churches, unions and other organizations to show continuous residence.

After reading through this post, please consider discussing your status with an immigration attorney; this firm can be contacted at the address and number above, and immigration issues are complicated - please call (303) 571-5023 to schedule an appointment to at least discuss the issues involved.