Last week, President Obama announced a change in his administration’s immigration policy regarding undocumented children. With an appeal to fairness and financial considerations, President Obama directed the Department of Homeland Security to focus its efforts to deport those who pose a threat to public safety or national security instead of talented young people.
Candidates for Prosecutorial Discretion
From Secretary Napolitano’s memorandum, an individual eligible for prosecutorial discretion will have met the following qualifications:
- Age. Came to the United States under the age of sixteen and is not above the age of thirty.
- Residence. Has continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and is present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
- Education or National Service. Is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Criminal Background. Has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety.
To qualify for deferred action, an individual must pass a background check and seek relief pursuant to the Secretary’s memorandum. While deferred action does not alter the individual’s immigration status, these individuals may apply for work authorization upon proof of economic necessity. The deferral action lasts for two years, and may be renewed.
- Remarks by the President on Immigration, June 15, 2012. From The White House.
- Secretary Napolitano Announces Deferred Action Process for Young People Who Are Low Enforcement Priorities, June 15, 2012. From the Department of Homeland Security.
- Frequently Asked Questions about the Deferred Action Process for Young People Who Are Low Enforcement Priorities. From the Department of Homeland Security.
- Application for Employment Authorization (I-765). From U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- Memorandum Regarding Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children, dated June 15, 2012. From Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.