What to do while waiting for the CIS to implement DREAM Act deferred action

On June 15, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intention to give deferred action and employment authorization documents (EADs) for a period of two years to certain young people who came to the United States as children.  These individuals must demonstrate that they:

  • Entered the U.S. before the age of 16
  • Have continuously resided in the U.S. for at least five years prior to June 15, 2012
  • Were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
  • Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a GED, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Armed Forces or Coast Guard.
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanors, or otherwise present a threat to national security or public safety
  • Were not above the age of 30 on June 15, 2012.

While individuals who are in removal proceedings or the subject of final orders of removal can seek deferred action from Immigration & Customs Enforcement starting immediately, those who have never been in removal proceedings must wait for the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (CIS) to implement procedures to receive applications for deferred action.  The DHS announcement gave the CIS 60 days (August 14, 2012) to implement the process.  Applicants should not submit any applications before the process has been established as they will be rejected.

Although the CIS will not start accepting applications until at least August 15, 2012, individuals who may be eligible for DREAM Act deferred action can take certain steps that may require additional lead time while waiting for the process to become available:

  • Get a passport.  Contact Embassy in the U.S. and seek a passport.
  • Get your birth certificate.
  • Get documentation to prove entry before the age of 16, five years residence in the U.S., and presence on June 15, 2012: school records, medical records, church records, I-94 cards, immigration documents, bank statements, credit card bills, insurance records, dated receipts for purchases, utility bills, leases, tax returns, birth certificates of children born in U.S., marriage certificates in U.S., driving records,  letters from employers, ministers, or other organization ns confirming your presence in the U.S., or dated photos.  This is list is not exclusive and other reliable evidence may be considered.
  • Enroll to take the GED.  Take a GED class.
  • Obtain records of any arrests.  You will need certified dispositions of any arrests.  If you have any arrests, we strongly suggest that you consult counsel before applying for deferred action.

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