Use of Affidavits & Sworn Testimony in “Deferred Action” Requests

by Ronald Shapiro
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On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama announced the launch of the “deferred action” program to suspend immigration enforcement actions against qualifying individuals who came to this country as children.

Since then, the federal immigration authorities have made clear that individuals who wish to qualify for “deferred action” status must have documentation proving that: (1) they were under the age of 31 years as of June 15, 2012, and they came to the U.S. before age 16; (2) they have resided in the U.S. continuously for at least five years prior to and including June 15, 2012; and (3) they are in school, have graduated high school or have obtained a certificate of General Education Development (“GED”) evidencing the equivalent of a high school education, or they are an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces.

In order to prove the elements required for “deferred action” status, some applicants have attempted to use affidavits or other notarized or sworn statements in their filings with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (the “USCIS”).

But the USCIS has recently published guidelines stating that “affidavits generally will not be sufficient on their own to demonstrate that you meet the guidelines for USCIS to consider you for deferred action.”

However, multiple affidavits may be used to bolster the following aspects of an application/request for deferred action:

  • A gap in the documentation otherwise demonstrating that the applicant met the five-year continuous residence requirement; or
  • A shortcoming in documentation with regard to brief, casual and innocent departures during the five years of required continuous presence.

USCIS will not accept affidavits as proof of meeting any of the following criteria for deferred action:

  • Being currently in school or having graduated high school or having obtained a GED certificate, or having been honorably discharged from the U.S. Coast guard or Armed Forces;
  • Being physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012;
  • Having come to the U.S. prior to reaching a 16th birthday;
  • Being under the age of 31 years on June 15, 2012; or
  • As evidence of any criminal history.

If you need assistance with a deferred action request, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (847) 564-0712 for an appointment to speak with a qualified lawyer. You can also check out our immigration law Website for more information about how we might assist you.

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Ronald Shapiro
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