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On June 15, 2012, the Obama administration announced that certain young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and educated here should be granted a temporary reprieve from deportation, known as deferred action, and given work authorization.  To be eligible under this initiative, a non-citizen must meet the following basic requirements:

  • Came to the United States before age 16
  • Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
  • Continuously lived in the United States for at least 5 years before June 15, 2012
  • Are at least 15 years old if not in removal proceedings
  • Currently enrolled in elementary school, junior high/middle school, high school or in federal/state funded GED program, graduated from high school or obtained a GED, or were honorably discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces
  • Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety
  • Did not have lawful status on June 15, 2012, and do not currently have lawful status 
  • Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and remain physically present

Because deferred action only provides temporary relief from removal and does not provide any lawful status, it will generally not be preferable to asylum, special immigrant juvenile status, a U Visa, or relief under VAWA.  If you believe your NIJC pro bono client may be eligible for deferred action under this initiative, please contact Natalie Maust at nmaust@heartlandalliance.org (for VAWA and U Visa cases) or Claire Coogan at ccoogan@heartlandalliance.org (for asylum and special immigrant juvenile cases) as soon as possible.  As always, pro bono attorneys should instruct their clients that they should not file any applications for immigration benefits without first speaking to their attorney.  For more information about deferred action for DREAMers, please visit http://www.immigrantjustice.org/DREAMers.