President Obama recently signed an executive order permitting certain children who arrived in the United States illegally or who are now out of status, to apply for deferred action. Deferred action allows these individuals to work legally in the United States without fear of deportation. Those who are eligible must file applications with USCIS. After being fingerprinted for background checks, they will receive a work permit permitting them to work legally in the United States.
You may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you:
1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Individuals who meet the eligibility requirements may begin to request consideration for deferred action by filing the appropriate applications on or after August 15, 2012.
Most of these individuals have been in the United States for many years and the United States is the only country they know. This is a move in the right direction. It is a humane approach to a very difficult problem.
However, the problem will not be solved until we pass comprehensive immigration reform. Deferred action is a temporary fix that does not confer legal status on the immigrant. It only permits them to work legally in the United States. Comprehensive immigration reform is a permanent humane approach to the problem.
Nevertheless, President Obama’s executive order is a good start.