There is currently a great deal of interest in what is being referred to as ‘deferred action’ for dreamers, and rightly so.  The basic principle behind President Obama’s June 15, 2012 announcement is the government’s willingness to provide opportunities for individuals who were brought into the U.S. as children, the opportunity to live relatively normal lives in the only country most of them know, the United States.

Being granted deferred action means that the U.S. government will not attempt to remove from the U.S. those persons who have been granted deferment, and in the meantime, will allow them the opportunity to indefinitely obtain valid employment authorization that enables them to work, seek driver’s licenses, and social security numbers.  Nevertheless, deferred action does not grant legal status, the ability to travel outside the U.S., or to join the military.

The eligibility criteria, as it currently stands, applies to people who:

  1. Were born after June 15, 1981;
  2. Arrived in the United States before the age of 16;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012 or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, graduated or received a certificate of completion from high school, obtained a general educational development certificate (GED), or that you are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces; and
  7. Are at least 15 years of age at the time of filing.

Certain factors, such as having a criminal record, can bar eligibility.  Because the process is not risk free for all possible applicants, one should exercise great care in seeking deferred action and should not attempt to obtain it without consulting a competent immigration attorney.