One of the criteria to qualify for deferred action as a childhood arrival is continuous residence. Continuous residence will not be considered interrupted is one’s absence is “brief, casual, and innocent.
According to USCIS guidelines, absence will be considered brief, casual, and innocent if it was before August 15, 2012, and:
- The absence was short and reasonably calculated to accomplish the purpose for the absence;
- The absence was not because of an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal;
- The absence was not because of an order of voluntary departure, or an administrative grant of voluntary departure before you were placed in exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings; and
- The purpose of the absence and/or your actions while outside the United States were not contrary to law.
To apply for consideration for deferred action under the new policy, one must submit the following forms along with evidence supporting the applicant’s application.
1. Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals;
2. Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and
3. Form I-765WS, Form I-765 Worksheet
To qualify for consideration for deferred action for childhood arrival, one must meet the following criteria:
1. Born after June 15, 1981;
2. Arrived in the United States before the age of 16;
3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
4. Were present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012 or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
6. Are currently in school, graduated or received a certificate of completion from high school, obtained a general educational development certificate (GED), or that you are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces; and
7. Are at least 15 years of age at the time of filing, if you have never been in removal proceedings or if your case was terminated before your request.
On Aug. 18th, 2011, the Department of Homeland Security announce that it will prioritize its efforts to deport illegal immigrants, focusing on immigrants who “pose a threat” over others. This announcement is an effort to prevent low-priority” cases from clogging the system by focusing on deporting illegal immigrants who have committed crimes. The side-effect of this directive is that illegal immigrants who are considered “low-threat” can at least temporarily stay in the US without facing deportation. Cecilia Munoz, White House director of intergovernmental affairs, clarifies that low priority individuals includes “”individuals such as young people who were brought to this country as small children, and who know no other home,” as well as “individuals such as military veterans and the spouses of active-duty military personnel.”
The difference between this directive and the DREAM act is that under the DREAM act, certain individuals will receive permanent resident status after completing the specific criteria. Under this directive, the illegal immigrants does not receive permanent resident status and is not granted amnesty. This directive merely prolong their ability to stay in the US illegally until further change in law or until change in immigration directive.
Jessica Cototl, a student at Kennesaw State University, was in danger of being removed from US a week from her graduation. Ms. Cototl was born in Mexico and entered the US illegally when she was 11. In March 2010, she was stopped by police for traffic violation and could not produce US diver license. Soon after, she was arrested and turned over to immigration officials. According to CNN.com, in May of 2011, ICE (immigration and custom enforcement) has allowed her to stay in US until her graduation. However, even with this decision, Ms. Cototl will have to leave US when her one year extension is up.
The purpose of the DREAM ACT was to create a new pathway for citizenship for children who were illegally entered into the US before the age 0f 16. The blocking of the act in Senate in Dec. 2010 denied immigrants such as Jessica Cototl a pathway to become US citizen and stay in the US. The proposed act was:
Six-year conditional status will be granted to immigrants who (1) entered the US illegally as children under the age of 16, (2) have lived in US for at least five years, (3) obtained a high school or General Education Development diploma and (4) demonstrated “good moral character. To apply for permanent residency (green card), the immigrant would need either: (1) attend college or (2) serve in the military for at least two years and pass criminal background checks.
Mayor Bloomberg, mayor of NYC, recently made the comment, “Stapling a green card to a diploma would be a very smart thing to do”. He also said that immigrants contribute about $200 billion to New York City’s economy each year and that immigrants comprise more than 30 percent of the city’s professional and managerial work force.
Recognizing the impact immigrants have on US economy is nothing new. This fact is argued by the American Immigration Council (“AIC”) and American Immigration Lawyer Association (“AILA”) in their support of Mr. Badrawi in April 2011. However, more support is needed for real immigration reform (such as DREAM Act which was blocked in Dec. 2010) to be passed.