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Focus on Regulation

Immigration relief for certain undocumented children

In a significant policy shift and following a stalled bill in Congress, the Administration decided to use discretionary authority to provide temporary immigration relief to certain undocumented children brought to the United States at an early age.   The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced on August 14, 2012, it would begin accepting new forms to allow individuals to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals to the United States. The agency submitted a notice to the Federal Register with the new forms and instructions, following the June 15 announcement by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano that certain people who came to the U.S. as children could request consideration of deferred action for up to two years, subject to renewal. 

Certain individuals who came to the U.S. when they were young children, and who do not present a risk to national security or public safety, can now be considered for relief from removal proceedings from the country. They are also eligible to apply for work authorization.  

To qualify for the discretionary deferral, the individuals must be age thirty or younger; have come to the U.S. when they were under age sixteen; have continuously resided in the U.S. for the preceding five years; are currently in or have graduated from high school or its equivalent, or are honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces; and have not been convicted of certain offenses or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

 For further information, see the USCIS press release.