DHS Announces DREAM Act Alternative

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Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today that certain qualified foreign nationals without immigration status who were brought to the United States as children, and meet other specific criteria, will be eligible for work authorization and will be considered for relief from removal. To be eligible, individuals must demonstrate that they meet the following criteria:

  1. Came to the United States under the age of 16 years;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding June 15, 2012 and are present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
  3. Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and
  5. Are not above the age of 30.

Only those individuals meeting all of the above criteria will be considered for deferred action and work authorization, and such action will be decided on a case-by-case basis. It will be the responsibility of the applicant to present verifiable documentation to establish all of the criteria.

Obtaining deferred action and work authorization will not grant the applicant any immigration status or pathway toward citizenship. Grants of deferred action will be given for a period of two years, subject to renewal. 

While this directive takes effect immediately, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are expected to begin implementation of the application process within 60 days. We expect USCIS to provide further instructions regarding this process in the very near future.  More information is available at www.dhs.gov.