Obama Announces New Immigration Policy For Young People Living In The U.S.

President Obama announced a new immigration policy that will allow certain young people who were brought into the United States as young children and meet other requirements, to be considered for relief from removal from the country.

This policy incorporates some of the features of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM), which Congress failed to pass.

Young people who meet the requirements will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, and the deferral will be subject to renewal after the two years. At this point, the details of what an applicant will need to do to receive a renewal are unclear.

Secretary Napolitano has directed agencies under Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement this policy, which the department emphasizes will be done a discretionary, case-by-case basis.

According to the DHS website, "in order to be eligible for deferred action, individuals must:

1.Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen;

2.Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;

3.Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;

4.Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;

5.Not be above the age of thirty."

DHS Enforcement Change?

The policy should help allow DHS to focus its enforcement resources high-priority individuals who are a genuine threat to national security or a risk to public safety.

It is hoped that DHS go after aliens convicted of crimes, with particular importance on violent criminals, felons and repeat offenders,

There has been much criticism of DHS and its use prosecutorial discretion, when they spend signicifitnt time and resources prosecuting children who are contributing members of the society, simply because they are easy targets.

The hope among the immigrant community is that this policy shift will work to remind enforcement authorities to focus on persons who have been convicted of felony offenses, significant misdemeanor offenses, or multiple misdemeanor offenses.

A Joseph Nevins, writing in the Huffington Post, notes, "Any relief to, and openings for, even a fraction of the millions of individuals who live in constant fear and deep insecurity due to the threat of deportation is to be welcomed."

An improvement in the culture of fear that many immigrants feel every single day, worrying that some mistake, accident or mere happenstance will lead to deportation is important.

Arbitrary Policy

A significant difficulty with immigration law is that it is administrative law, and does not necessarily proceed on a structure controlled by logic. As with many "hot button" issues, immigration policy is heavily influenced by political trends, and changes can come abruptly or very slowly, depending on the political climate.

Because of this, what "immigration law" is at any moment in time is a stew of Congressional action as reflected in the immigration statutes, DHS, USCIS, ICE and other relevant administrative agencies' regulations and, as important, their implementation of those policies and procedures.

It is also influenced by the activities of the various prosecutions and other judicial interpretations, from administrative law judges, the Board of Immigration appeals and all of the federal courts.

Professional Immigration Help

For questions of whether you may qualify for the exercise of discretion under the administration's new policy or any other immigration matter, it is important to work with an experienced professional. If you are subject to a pending removal proceeding or final order, you are eligible for this relief and should consult immigration attorney.

Other individuals can affirmatively file for deferred action once the process opens up on August 13, 2012. Moreover, anyone with criminal history need to be cautious and have their case reviewed by immigration attorney in order to avoid being placed in removal proceedings and be deported.

The sheer volume of material is overwhelming to non-lawyers, and that combines with the incredible complexity of the all the various elements, a mistake of which on any one, could lead to restarting the process from the beginning, or much worse, means this is one area of law where professional assistance is essential.

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