LettersEditorial Thursday, August 9th, 2012
Understanding ‘Deferred Action’
I write to urge you to provide a follow up to the “Path to second-class citizenship” article that was written in the June 28, 2012 issue of the LGBT Weekly. Some of the information provided is inaccurate. I hope the June 28 article did not confuse nor dissuade undocumented immigrants from considering their options.
Basically, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano issued a memorandum June 15, 2012 that outlines a new policy that affects undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. These individuals who meet certain criteria are eligible to apply for deferred action.
In a matter of days, certain immigrant youth can begin to apply for deferred action. Aug. 15, U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) will begin accepting applications. It is important that all immigrant communities, including LGBT immigrants, receive accurate information so that they make informed decisions on whether to apply.
Individuals who meet the following requirements may apply:
1. Was under the age of 31 June 15, 2012
2. Came to the U.S. under the age of 16
3. Has continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, up to the present time
4. Was physically present in the United States 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. Is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces
7. Has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, three or more non-significant misdemeanors, nor otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Requests for deferred action are reviewed individually, not all young immigrants will qualify. Getting deferred action means that DHS is not going to pursue enforcement against a person for a specified period. Also, the policy allows for two-year work permits that may be renewable. For most undocumented immigrants, this is much better than living, studying and working in the shadows.
One caution, do not get scammed! Immigrants should stay away from notarios, public notaries and immigration consultants. One cannot begin to apply for deferred action until August 15, 2012. Immigrants should seek the help of immigration attorneys. One local agency, the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (SDIRC), has hosted informational forums. For more information, see immigrantsandiego.org/
Finally, much gratitude is owed to the DREAMers, the many students and young immigrants who continue to push our elected officials to act. There is still much work to do. The DREAM Act has not passed. Deferred action is a temporary measure and does not provide amnesty nor is it a path to citizenship. Our laws must change so that DREAM youth can continue pursuing their achievements and be fully contributing members of our many communities, including LGBT communities.
A concerned immigration attorney.
Attorney at Law San Diego
Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=27351