Today the DREAM Begins: USCIS Accepts Deferred Action Requests

August 15, 2012
George Tzamaras or Belle Woods
202-507-7649 / 202-507-7675 /

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) applauds United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for its on-time implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative announced by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano on June 15, 2012. While not a permanent fix, the deferred action initiative gives new hope for qualified immigrants who want to contribute to the economy and live free from fear of deportation. The guidelines for eligibility and the processes adopted by USCIS form the foundation for the smooth, consistent, fair and humane review of requests. We look forward to USCIS conducting these reviews promptly and efficiently.

"This is a tremendous initiative on the part of DHS and USCIS, and a tremendous opportunity for young people who were brought to the United States; for many the United States is the only country they know," said AILA President Laura Lichter. "There are potentially over a million young people eager to take a first step forward into a promising future. The best thing they can do is to educate themselves so they don't get scammed. While many will be successful in requesting deferred action, immigration law is extremely complex. No one considering applying should do so without first consulting with qualified counsel, whether one-on-one with a lawyer, or through one of the many community programs providing immigration services or pro bono programs in which AILA lawyers throughout the country are participating. And don't panic! There is no deadline associated with filing for deferred action so applicants with questions shouldn't rush to apply, but should take the time to talk with an attorney or BIA accredited representative to make sure filing is safe and smart. Having the right advocate on your side is absolutely essential," she said.

Lichter continued, "The process may take several months and because this is a new initiative, our understanding of how requests will be considered will necessarily evolve. AILA will continue conversations with USCIS and other stakeholders to address concerns that may arise as the applications start flooding in. Further, we encourage the Department of Homeland Security to offer prosecutorial discretion to parents and family members of those granted deferred action under the new policy so that families can remain together. Tearing families apart isn't an enforcement priority."

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The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 12081578.