DREAM Act History and Deferred Action
The DREAM Act, also known as the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, was introduced to the United States Senate in 2001 by Senators Orrin Hatch and Dick Durbin. The DREAM Act has been introduced a number of times in both the House of Representatives and the Senate following its initial creation in 2001 without being passed, though in 2010 the DREAM Act passed in the House, but not in the Senate when the 60 votes needed to end the floor debate could not be attained.
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The New Jersey DREAM Act Coalition pushes for policy change and social action on issues pertaining to young immigrants in New Jersey. As the DREAM Act was debated in Congress, the NJDAC advocated for the In-State Tuition Bill in the 2009-2010 session of the New Jersey State Legislature. The bill did not pass, but the support for it brought different groups of immigrant youth throughout New Jersey together in their unified effort. The NJDAC’s website is located at: www.njdac.org.
As the DREAM Act remains stuck in Congress, on June 15, 2012, President Obama issued an executive directive providing for a program called Deferred Action. Unlike the DREAM Act, Deferred Action does not provide a pathway toward citizenship, but is an act of prosecutorial discretion. Young illegal immigrants who match specific requirements detailed in this website (see: Requirements) will no longer be deported. Immigrants can file for renewable two-year periods of “deferred action.” During these periods, those in the program can apply for work permits, which would facilitate applying for a social security number, driver’s license, and college admission.
USCIS alerts eligible individuals NOT to submit a deferred action request under the Deferred Action Process for Young People memo until a date to be announced in August 2012. If you file now, your application will be rejected. USCIS has 60 days to finalize the application process and cannot accept requests at this time.
The Scheer Immigration Law Group encourages all individuals who believe that they might be eligible for Deferred Action to educate themselves about the requirements for the program. It is of utmost importance that DREAMers seek detailed advice from lawyers or authorized professionals and avoid notarios who may take advantage of immigrants!
If our office can be of assistance with any immigration-related matter, please contact us immediately at (973) 532-5330
Dream Act History FAQs
>> Does this policy apply to those subject to a final order of removal?
Yes. An individual subject to a final order of removal who can demonstrate that he or she meets the eligibility criteria can request a review of his or her case and receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. All cases will be considered on an individualized basis.
Individuals who believe they can demonstrate that they satisfy the eligibility criteria and are about to be removed should immediately contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center’s hotline at 1-855-448-6903 (staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday) or by e-mail at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.
>> What is the status of DAPA?
President Obama announced DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, as an expansion of the DACA policies in November of 2014. It would have exempted parents of LPRs from deportation and granted temporary work permits. However, several states sued, claiming that DAPA was unconstitutional. A District Court issued an injunction effectively freezing DAPA in November 2015. The Supreme Court was deadlocked as of November 2016, setting no precedent and leaving the injunction in place.
>> Can a deferred action recipient with a valid work permit apply for a travel permit?
Plenty of people who’ve received deferred action and are living in the U.S. with a valid work permit want to leave temporarily. A person might be interested in studying abroad, traveling for business, or visiting a relative. Many, though, worry that if they leave they might not be able to come back.
If you have a valid work permit, you can apply for a travel permit with the I-131 form. You will need to supply proof of your reason for wanting to travel. Education, business, and humanitarian reasons (including visiting sick relatives or attending a funeral) are the only acceptable ones under current policy.
>> I’m eligible for deferred action and also in a serious relationship with a U.S. citizen. Can I apply for deferred action and then later apply for an immigrant visa or green card?
As long as a person has two legitimate paths to immigration, and there has been no instance of fraud in either case, a person may pursue both paths simultaneously or consecutively.
>> What happens if my application is denied? Will I get arrested?
You will not automatically be arrested or deported if USCIS denies your request for deferred action – USCIS will only issue you a letter of denial. If you are guilty of serious crimes, however, USCIS will probably report you to ICE.
You may not “appeal” a USCIS decision on deferred action, but you may request a “review” if you think you were denied because of an administrative error like the ones listed here:
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