USCIS details deferred action application process to begin Aug. 15
Certain illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children will soon be able to pay $465 to apply for deferred enforcement action, said Alejandro Mayorkas, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, on Aug. 3.
Beginning Aug. 15, those eligible can submit a request to USCIS through a new form that includes an application for work authorization. Applicants will undergo background checks and must provide biometric information.
USCIS will let applicants track the progress of their applications online, Mayorkas said in a press call.
The application fees will fund the process, a senior administration official said. USCIS has already begun to hire additional staff to handle the applications, but the total number of new hires will depend on volume.
Still, "we're not going to be caught short" and would prefer to be overprepared than underprepared, said the official, who spoke on condition of non-attribution.
No fee waivers will be available for the work authorization applications that are part of the process. But in limited cases, individuals will be able to apply for fee exemptions for the whole process.
For example, the homeless and those suffering from serious disabilities may be exempt, the official said.
In a June 15 memorandum, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that those eligible for deferred action must:
- have come to the United States before age 16;
- have continuously resided in the United States for at least 5 years immediately preceding June 15, 2012, and be in the country on that date;
- be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a GED certificate or have been honorably discharged from the Armed Forces or Coast Guard;
- not have been convicted of a felony, multiple misdemeanor offenses or a "significant" misdemeanor offense or otherwise pose "a threat to national security or public safety";
- not be above age 30.
Deferred action will last 2 years, subject to renewal.
Illegal immigrants currently in detention will be eligible for the deferred action process and may be released to pursue their requests, the administration official said.
Mayorkas noted that application information won't be used for enforcement purposes unless the applicant poses a public safety or national security threat.
He stressed, though, that applicants who knowingly make false statements in their applications will be treated as high priorities for removal.
It could take several months to approve applications, but that will depend on the volume, said the official who spoke on background.
Application forms will appear online Aug. 15, Mayorkas said.
DHS will stop deportation of certain young illegal immigrants
ICE appoints first public advocate
ICE: About 8% of cases potentially subject to prosecutorial discretion
Traffic stops will result in fewer deportations