On June 15, 2012, Barack Obama endorsed a new policy from the Department of Homeland Security aimed at making the nation’s immigration policy fairer and more efficient — by removing the threat of deportation for young people who are low enforcement priorities. This policy is somewhat like the Dream Act that has yet to pass in Congress. However, there are some differences and if you are considering applying for the new program you may wish to seek the help and assistance of an attorney when filling out the forms with Homeland Security. Below is a description of both and information on contacting a lawyer about getting legal support and advice.
The Dream Act
The Dream Act is a Congressional Bill. It has not passed Congress. It has been introduced many times. The Dream Act if enacted would allow undocumented immigrant aliens who were brought to the United States as children a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship.
The Dream Act required applicants, among other things to:
- Prove they arrived before they were 16.
- Prove they have lived in the United States for 5 years.
- Be under 30 years old when applying.
- Have graduated from an American high school, obtained a GED, or been admitted to an institution of higher education.
- Have no felony criminal record.
The Dream Act also required that, after having been granted conditional status, qualifying applicants wait six years and during that time:
- graduate from a two-year community college or
- complete at least two years towards a four-year degree or
- serve two years in the U.S. military.
After those six years, those persons would be eligible to apply for permanent residency.
Compare this to:
The Executive Order / Deferred Action – Memo from Janet Napolitano re: Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children
A new policy from the Department of Homeland Security signed by Janet Napolotanio on June 15, 2012 and endorced by President Obama provides for temporary legal residence status for people who would have qualified under the never-passed Dream Act.
To qualify to apply for the status, applicants are required to:
- Have come to the U.S. under the age of sixteen
- Have continuously resided in the US for at least five years preceding June 15, 2012 and were in the U.S. on that day
- Be currently in school, or graduated from high school, or obtained a GED or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States
- Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, multiple minor misdemeanors or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety
- Not be above the age of thirty
If a person meets those requirements, the order will allow him or her to apply to remain in the U.S. and receive a work permit and protection from deportation for two years, with the possibility of renewal.
Obama said in a statement about his order: “This is not amnesty, this is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix.” Unlike the Dream Act, this executive order does not provide a pathway for permanent status. But, many hope it will be the first step to allowing undocumented immigrant aliens who came to the United States as children a pathway to permanent residency.
Are You Considering Applying for This Program?
If you meet the requirements stated above, you may wish to speak to an attorney before taking the next step. As of June 18, 2012, no application forms have been created by the United States government. However, Betts and Associates is committed to helping people who wish to apply for this program. For $250, Betts and Associates will help you to gather the necessary documents and proof, fill out the paperwork, receive updates on your status, and will represent you at one administrative hearing or meeting if such a meeting is ever required in your case.
If you would like to hire Betts and Associates to handle your case, please call 404-577-8888, email sherellemckinley@http://www.bettslaw.net or submit a short form on this website. For quickest attention put “Immigration” in the subject heading. We look forward to working with you.