Soon after launching the “deferred action” program to suspend immigration enforcement actions against qualifying individuals who came to the U.S. as children, the White House and the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) started to issue clarifying interpretations related to the program.
Both the White House and DHS have made it clear that deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal actions against certain individuals as an act of prosecutorial discretion, and thus, deferred action does not confer lawful status on an individual. It does, however, insure that prosecutors will not take action against the affected individuals for past immigration violations for a defined period of time.
Those authorities have also made clear that if an individual fails to qualify for deferred action under the new program, then that individual may still request an exercise of prosecutorial discretion in his or her favor under the June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memorandum issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”).
Such requests can be made through any of the established channels at ICE, including through a request to the ICE Office of the Public Advocate or to the local Field Office Director. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will not consider such requests.
Many people have come to this blog looking for information about the “application process for deferred action,” but that process was not announced at the time the program was launched. However, those intrested in finding out more about the process to qualify for deferred action can call the USCIS hotline at (800) 375-5283, and those in removal proceedings already can call the hotline for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) at (888) 351-4024.
ICE will immediately offer deferred action for a period of 2 years, subject to renewal, for those individuals already in removal proceedings who meet the eligibility criteria for deferred action.
We generally do not handle deportation matters, but if you are in need of legal assistance with another immigration matter, do not hesitate to contact our office at (847) 564-0712 to speak with a qualified attorney. You can also check out our immigration law Website for more information about how we might assist you.