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Consideration Given: Deferred Action Directive

African American news from Pasadena - Commentary - Deferred Action Directive clarifiedOn June 15, 2012 President Barack Obama unveiled the Deferred Action Directive and said "Now, let's be clear -- this is not amnesty, this is not immunity. . . This is not a path to citizenship. It's not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope." In a subsequent press release, Homeland Security Department Secretary Janet Napolitano stated, "Effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Secretary Napolitano made it clear that "Our immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner . . . But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case.

The Deferred Action Directive brought possibilities wedded to joy, hope, fear and many questions. The benefits are a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual for a two-year renewable period and Work Permit eligibility if an individual can demonstrate "an economic necessity for employment." To jump start the application process immigration advocacy organizations in many cities responded quickly and offered workshops based on the initial guidelines provided by the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a division of the Homeland Security Department. In Pasadena, for example, the Pasadena Youth Center, directed by Stella Murga, offered two free power point sessions entitled, "Deferred Action Process for Young People Who Are Low Enforcement Priorities presented by immigration Attorney Claudia Y. Farfan ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) in July 2012.

On August 15, 2012 the consideration of deferred action form, employment authorization document and instructions were released to the public at www.uscis.gov. The total cost for filing the documents are $465 per person. There are no fee waivers available for employment authorization applications connected to the deferred action for childhood arrivals process. Requests for fee exemptions must be filed and approved before an individual files his/her request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals without a fee. In order to be considered for a fee exemption, a letter and supporting documentation is required by USCIS demonstrating that one of the following conditions are met: (1) under 18 years of age, (2) homeless, (3) in foster care, (4) lacking any parental or other familial support, (5) income is less than 150 percent of the U.S. poverty level, (6) cannot care for yourself because you suffer from a serious chronic disability and (7) accumulated $25,000 or more in debt in the past 12 months as a result of unreimbursed medical expenses for yourself or an immediate family member.

Specific documentation is required to prove entry into the United States before age 16. For example, (1) demonstrate residency in the United States for at least five years immediately proceeding June 15, 2012, (2) documentation of physical presence in the United States on June 15, 2012, the date the Deferred Action Directive was signed, and (3) may include, financial, medical, school, employment and military records.

Verification of elementary school attendance records, high school graduation or a General Education Development Certificate is mandatory. Required forms can be downloaded from the Pasadena Unified School District website www.pasadena.edu, or picked up from the Welcome Center located at District headquarters. The average processing time is three weeks. Students enrolled in a community college or four-year university and who graduated need to request attendance and degree completion records. At Pasadena City College the Records Office is responsible for providing this information. Initially, on and after August 15, 2012, 72,000 applications were submitted during the first wave. On September 12, 2012 first-time applicants were notified of their status. Information regarding the number of approvals was not available. The second wave of application notifications are scheduled for November 2012.

A guide entitled "How Do I . . . Request Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals can be downloaded at www.uscis.gov/howdoi. To download the form, e-file some applications, check the status of an application, and more go to www.uscis.gov. A disclaimer for the guide states . . . provides basic information to help you become generally familiar with our rules and procedures . . . Immigration law can be complex, and it is impossible to describe every aspect of every process. You may wish to be represented by a licensed attorney or by a nonprofit agency accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals. Attorney Farfan, in her presentation stated that an attorney may or may not be needed. She clarified that in certain cases, it might be in the best interest of the individual to hire an attorney. For example, criminal record, other pending applications, a removal/deportation order, or do not have all of the required documentation. For individuals who are still confused about the requirements and application process, don't know if they have a criminal record or deportation a consultation might be beneficial. Attorney fees to prepare individual Deferred Action packets vary based on each person's situation. The following links can help to find a licensed California immigration attorney: http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/MemberSearch/QuickSearch, www.uscis.gov/avoidscams or www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.



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