Although the Dream Act has not passed in Congress, President Obama has taken the initiative to use his discretion to defer action to those who qualify under the Government’s criteria. So, those who fit the following criteria are eligible for deferred action on any deportation/removal case against them.
In order to qualify for deferred action, you must:
Be 15-30 years old.
Have been present in the United States for 5 years as of June 15th, 2012.
Have maintained continuous residence.
Have not been convicted of one serious crime or multiple minor crimes.
Be currently enrolled in high school, graduated or have a GED, or have enlisted in the military.
If you fit this criteria, you are eligible to apply for deferred action affirmatively before the Government has placed you in removal proceedings, or you can apply for deferred action once you are placed in removal proceedings.
There will be much litigation on whether an individual is eligible under the criteria set forth above, so if you think you or a loved one might be eligible, consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
This decision is a victory for many non-citizens that were brought to the United States by their parents at a young age and the United States is all they know. They have excelled in school, become fully integrated into their communities, and consider themselves to be Americans. Currently, the law requires that they be deported to a country where they may have no support, may not know the language, may have no family, and may be foreign to them.
Although, deferred action will allow many to stay in the United States who otherwise would be deported, it is a stop gap measure until Congress passes a law that legitimizes our bright young children who, through no fault of their own, were brought to this country at an age where they legally could not consent, and have grown up and assimilated into our culture.