New Immigration Plan Provides Relief Similar To DREAM Act
Today, in a blockbuster move, the federal government announced
that it would no longer seek the deportation of hundreds of thousands now present in the U.S. without legal status, who were brought to the United States as children, and would allow them to apply for work permits if they meet certain criteria.
The new policy, announced today by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is effective immediately. A senior official with the Obama administration said in a conference call with reporters that as many as 800,000 undocumented immigrants stand to benefit from this change.
“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in a statement Friday. Secretary Napolitano further elaborated that the new plan represented neither immunity nor amnesty, but instead represented an instance of “prosecutorial discretion” in which the government had re-evaluated its priorities in enforcing the law.
This policy shift will essentially accomplish many of the goals of the DREAM Act, an immigration reform bill that has been stalled in Congress over the last two years.
Under the program announced today by DHS, applicants meeting certain criteria will be given “deferred status” which will not only prevent deportation but will also allow them to apply for work permits.
To be eligible, applicants must:
- Be between the ages of 15 – 30;
- Have entered before the age of 16;
- Have stayed in the U.S. continuously since entering;
- 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.
The White House is expected to make a formal announcement of this groundbreaking policy change this afternoon at 1:15 EST.
If you or a loved one might benefit from this new policy, please contact us today to schedule a consultation. Our immigration law attorneys represent clients throughout Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
En Español: Plan de acción diferida para jóvenes anunciado.