September 20, 2014

Department of Homeland Security Announces Deferred Action for Eligible DREAMers

Editor’s Note: The new CBA-CLE book, Immigration Law for the Colorado Practitioner, is available for purchase. In addition to federal laws and regulations, lawyers must understand specific Colorado immigration laws and policies being implemented, and how they can affect their clients. This comprehensive reference covers an incredible range of practice issues, providing the necessary orientation, analysis, and authorities. It’s a new “must have” for the Colorado general practitioner, lawyers who focus their practice in areas that overlap with immigration law, as well as for lawyers who focus exclusively on immigration law. Click here for more information and to order.

By Kim Tremblay & Amber L. Blasingame

On June 15, 2012, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced that the government will offer indefinite relief from deportation for young immigrants brought to the United States as minors.  Young immigrants, between the ages of 15 and 30 years old as of June 15, 2012, not in deportation proceedings will also be eligible to apply for deferred action.

Although this is not the DREAM legislation (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) that many have been pushing Congress to enact for years, it is a step in the right direction.  It will allow many young immigrants to come out of the shadows, support themselves, and use the skills they acquired in American schools in the workplace.  The DHS initiative will also provide more opportunities for young immigrants to apply and attend college or university, since many US post-secondary institutes require evidence of legal status for admission.  The department estimates that the new policy may benefit as many as 800,000 potential DREAMers.  However, many questions remain unanswered as both USCIS and ICE have 60 days to implement policies and procedures for filing deferred action requests.

Based on the results of DHS’s prior prosecutorial discretion initiative, it also remains to be seen whether this new policy will be any more successful for young immigrants in deportation proceedings.  The August 2011 DHS memo initiated a policy based on priorities to reduce the immigration court’s overbooked docket.  Under the prosecutorial discretion policy, DHS reviewed all 350,000 pending deportation cases nationwide and offered to administratively close about two percent of cases that were not priorities for DHS to pursue.  This was a much lower number than anticipated.  Thus, for young immigrants already in removal proceedings, it remains unclear whether this new policy will bring about much change.

More positive outcomes are expected for young immigrants who are not in deportation proceedings.  Applications for individuals who are not in deportation proceedings cannot be filed until USCIS implements a filing procedure.  In the meantime, however, potential DREAMers should consult attorneys to determine their eligibility for the program and start gathering documents to show that they meet the requirements. They should beware of individuals or agencies who claim they can help but who are not licensed to represent and assist individuals in this legal process.

Potential DREAMers physically present in the United States should also get documentation to show they are here from today and until deferred action is granted.  They should also hold on to anything to show they were present on June 15, 2012.

Individuals must meet the following requirements to be considered for deferred action:

  • Entered the United States before age 16 and not be above 30 years of age;
  • Have continuously resided in the U.S. for 5 years as of June 15, 2012;
  • Were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012;
  • Are currently in school, have graduated from high school or earned a GED, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  • Have not been convicted of a serious crime or multiple minor crimes that pose a threat to the national security or public safety.

Those who meet the criteria will be qualified to obtain deferred action for two years, subject to renewal for an indefinite period of time, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization if they can show financial need.

Amber Blasingame is an associate attorney at the Joseph Law Firm and has focused her practice on immigration law since 1995. Kim Tremblay is also an associate attorney at the Joseph Law Firm who specializes in immigration law. They contribute to the Immigration Issues blog, where this post originally appeared on June 19, 2012.

The opinions and views expressed by Featured Bloggers on CBA-CLE Legal Connection do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of the Colorado Bar Association, the Denver Bar Association, or CBA-CLE, and should not be construed as such.

Immigration Law: 2013 Diversity Lottery Remains Open Through November 5, 2011

Editor’s Note: The new CBA-CLE book Immigration Law for the Colorado Practitioner is now available for purchase. In addition to federal laws and regulations, lawyers must understand specific Colorado immigration laws and policies being implemented, and how they can affect their clients. This comprehensive reference covers an incredible range of practice issues, providing the necessary orientation, analysis, and authorities. It’s a new “must have” for the Colorado general practitioner, lawyers who focus their practice in areas that overlap with immigration law, as well as for lawyers who focus exclusively on immigration law. Click here for more information and to order.

The U.S. Department of State (“department”) opened registration for the 2013 Diversity Lottery Program will on October 4, 2011.The department will accept electronically-submitted registration applications (E-DV Form) until noon (EDT) on November 5, 2011.

Annually, the department sets aside 55,000 immigrant visas for the Diversity Visa Program. Out of the 55,000, 5,000 visas are allocated and available to aliens eligible to apply under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA). The department selects and distributes the available 2013 Diversity Visas to nationals from among six geographic regions and up to 7% of applicants from any single eligible country.

Nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants tot he United States or more are not eligible to register for the Diversity Visa Program. The list of ineligible countries includes natives from the following: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born)*, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

*Natives of Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible to register.

Eligible registrants must submit an E-DV Form at www.dvlottery.state.gov to enter the lottery. The department will no longer accept paper entries. The official, electronic form is only in English. However, registrants may find unofficial translations of the electronic form on the department’s website, in Albanian, Armenian, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, and Uzbek. Other translations of the form or assistance with translations may be available at the respective US Embassy website or foreign post in the registrant’s country of residence.

The electronic registration system provides each registrant with a unique confirmation number. On or after May 1, 2013, registrants can return to the department’s website to check if their confirmation number has been selected. If selected, the department will then send instructions to the successful registrant on how to apply for an immigrant visa.

Every year, through the wonders of internet technology, more fraudulent websites are created as scams charging unnecessary fees to unwary lottery registrants. The websites often appear as official government websites. Scammers may also send emails or letters “posing as the U.S. government.” Please remember that the department does NOT collect a fee from registrants to enter the Diversity Visa Program. In addition, the department will NOT send registrants status updates or selection notices via email or regular mail. Registrants must check the department’s website using their confirmation number for updates on their entry.

Amber Blasingame is an associate attorney at the Joseph Law Firm and has focused her practice on immigration law since 1995. Amber contributes to the Immigration Issues blog, where this post originally appeared on September 29, 2011.