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Administration Giving Quasi Legal Status to DREAMERS with Work Authorization and Possible Travel Permission

by Alan Lee, Esq.

The Obama administration announced today that it would immediately implement a program to allow deferred action for young people who can meet the following requirements:

  1. Came 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. Are currently 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. Are not above the age of thirty.

The administrative action ostensibly comes about as the fractious Congress has taken no positive action on DREAM Act legislation to afford relief to the young illegal immigrants who have been educated in the States.

Cases will be decided on a case by case basis. For those who are not under proceedings or who have a final order of removal, a request to review the applicant's case for eligibility will be submitted to U.S.C.I.S. For those with a case presently pending before the immigration court, Board of Immigration Appeals, or a federal court, the request for review will be submitted to U.S.I.C.E. Procedures will be announced in the near future and potential applicants are not encouraged to apply at this time although those who are in imminent danger of being removed by ICE should immediately contact the Law Enforcement Support Centers Hotline at 1-855-448-6903 or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate's Hotline at 1-888-351-4024 or by e-mail at

Deferred action when granted will be given for a period of two years and can be renewed pending the review of the individual's case. Work authorization will be allowed for those who can demonstrate an economic necessity for employment. Travel authorization is still being debated and U.S.C.I.S. will resolve the question in the coming weeks as part of its implementation plan.

The deferred action program for young people who qualify promises to be beneficial not only for those who are eligible but for the nation at large which will now be able to utilize the energies of the bright young minds that it has educated yet relegated to the shadows in not giving them any status to stay or to work.

(In our next article, we will explore the intricacies of the deferred action program as announced).

This article 2012 Alan Lee, Esq.

About The Author

Alan Lee is a 30+ year practitioner of immigration law based in New York City holding an AV preeminent rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and registered in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. He was also recently named to the New York Super Lawyers list. He was awarded the Sidney A. Levine prize for best legal writing at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1977 and has written extensively on immigration over the past years for Interpreter Releases, Immigration Daily, and the ethnic newspapers, World Journal, Sing Tao, Pakistan Calling, Muhasha and OCS. He has testified as an expert on immigration in civil court proceedings and was recognized by the Taiwan government in 1985 for his work protecting human rights. His article, "The Bush Temporary Worker Proposal and Comparative Pending Legislation: an Analysis" was Interpreter Releases' cover display article at the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in 2004, and his victory in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in a case of first impression nationwide, Firstland International v. INS, successfully challenged INS' policy of over 40 years of revoking approved immigrant visa petitions under a nebulous standard of proof. Its value as precedent, however, was short-lived as it was specifically targeted by the Bush Administration in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.