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Category:
Deferred Action

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Yesterday, November 20, 2014 was a huge day in the immigration arena, a festive Thanksgiving buffet of options for a range of potential immigrants.  First, President Obama without much fanfare designated Temporary Protected Status for up to 18 months for nationals of the nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia which are struggling with an epidemic of Ebola.  Then in a highly publicized, televised event, the president announced that he is once again taking executive action which will lift the threat of deportation from a large class of people currently living in the U.S. without legal status.  This new action is similar in kind to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program of 2012, which I have written about before.

The exact parameters of who will be eligible for deferred action or prosecutorial discretion under the new programs have not been announced, but the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has posted a basic overview of expected programs on its website.  High...

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With President Obama set to announce another executive action on immigration this week, the newly-elected Republican majority in Congress is threatening countermeasures to thwart whatever program the president wants.  Last week there was loud talk about forcing yet another government shutdown if the president takes any action on immigration. Cooler heads among the Republican base have counseled against this. 


I have to say I was bemused and amused by the "government shutdown" threat.  Setting aside the enormous problems that a shutdown causes across all areas of civic and economic life, the threatmakers must have very little understanding of how our immigration system is actually run.  As I detailed during last year's government shutdown, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service-- which is the agency responsible for processing DACA applications and probably any new executive programs--goes right on working when the government is shutdown.  It's funded by filing fees, not taxes. ...

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Yesterday I joined hundreds of volunteers and thousands of immigrant youth and families at Navy Pier in Chicago for the first "DREAM Relief day" hosted by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) along with other immigrant groups, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) and many others. As anyone who has followed the new coverage in the Chicago area knows, this was *massive*.  While the good folks at ICIRR had planned for several thousand people, they had not expected the more than 10,000 who arrived, including many who camped out on the pier the night before.

As someone who has done some event planning and volunteer management on a much smaller scale, I was very impressed that ICIRR, NIJC, and others were able to put this together in such a short time period.  The entire "DACA*" program was only announced two months ago, and the forms were released less than a day before the event.  Organizations typically spe...
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On August 15th, 2012 USCIS will begin accepting "Requests for Consideration of Deferred Action" under what they are now calling "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" program.  On that day, I will be volunteering with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights at their "DREAM Relief Day" at Navy Pier.  We sure hope the forms are released on time!

For those who want more individualized attention, my office will be holding extended evening hours between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm for the last two weeks of August.  Please fill out this appointment form to request an appointment.

Last week, Alejandro Mayorkas, the Director of USCIS clarified qualification criteria and procedures on a conference call.  USCIS has created a special webpage about the program at www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.  Criteria for requesting deferred action under this program are that a person is:

1. Not 31 yet on June 15th, 2012
2. Came here before 16th bithday
3. Has been in continual residence since June 15 ...
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Last week I wrote about the various proposals before Congress to give legal status to many of the young immigrants who were brought here as children and are living here without legal status. Then big news broke on that very topic Friday, as President Obama announced a plan to grant
'deferred action"   to many of these young people. This announcement raises the question of just what is "deferred action," and how does this compare to actual legal permanent residency.

"Deferred action" is not a new concept, though it has not previously been granted to this group of immigrants.  For more than a decade, USCIS has been granting "deferred action" to low-risk immigrants who are already in the country but who do not currently qualify for a visa.  For example, immigrant spouses of legal permanent residents (green card holders) can petition on their own for a visa if the green card holding spouse is abusive and will not sponsor the abused spouse.  These self-petitioning spouses are often grante...
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