On Friday, June 15, 2012, President Obama announced that his administration would be stopping the deportation of those young people who were brought to the United States as children. This announcement has excited many people and left us all with many unanswered questions. While many questions remain unanswered for everyone, I am going to address some of the questions that can be answered and are on many people’s minds right now.
1. Is this the DREAM Act?
No, this is not the DREAM Act but it is the President’s way to provide those that would qualify for the DREAM Act, if it ever passes, some benefits while they are waiting.
2. Who is eligible for this type of relief from deportation?
Right now, in order to eventually apply, you must:
a. Have entered the US before you turned 16 years old
b. You must have been present in the United States on June 15, 2012.
c. You must have been physically present in the United States continuously from June 15, 2007 to present
d. You must either currently be in school, must have graduated from high school in the US, obtained a GED, or be in the military or honorably discharged from the military.
e. You must not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, have multiple misdemeanor convictions, or otherwise threaten national security or public safety
f. And, must be 30 years old or younger on June 15, 2012.
3. I have a crime, will I be eligible?
The crimes that will disqualify people have not really been defined yet. I would contact an immigration attorney once the application process is available to see if the crimes that will disqualify someone to apply have been further defined.
4. I meet the qualifications, can I apply now?
No, the application process has not yet been announced. A memo issued by the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, states that you will be able to apply within the next 60 days.
5. If I get approved, will I get my green card or citizenship?
No, you will not receive your green card or citizenship. As of right now, the only thing that you will be able to get is a work permit. There are discussions going on that you may also be able to travel internationally but that has not yet been decided.
6. My friend went and paid someone to be placed on a list so that they can be the first to apply, should I do the same?
No, you should not pay to be placed on a list. You should contact an immigration attorney in the next couple of weeks to prepare the application once it becomes available. There are many people who try to take advantage of other people when announcements like this are made so you should be cautious and make sure that the person you select to assist you is definitely an attorney. For CA attorneys you can check and make sure the person you are considering hiring is really an attorney by looking them up online at http://www.calbar.org. You can check with the state bar in your state to see if they have a list of attorneys online or through some other means.
7. Should I hire an attorney to assist me with this application?
I would highly recommend that you hire an immigration attorney to file this application on your behalf. I am making this recommendation because the President has done this on his own without Congress changing the law. This means that if President Obama does not get re-elected in November 2012, this application process and the right to get a work permit for people who meet the criteria above, may be changed or taken away by the new President. If you hire a non-attorney or try to do this on your own and a mistake is made, then you might not have time to file it again before the new President changes it or takes it away.
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