Deferred Action: Not Quite the Dream Act But A Step Toward it
MIAMI, USA (defend.ht) - President Obama stepped up last June15 and issued an executive order that allows more than 800,000 young people to stay in the US legally without fear of deportation. Interviewed in Miami by Defend Haiti, Nancy Francillon, a Haitian advocate from Americans for Immigrant Justice, made the point on this decision and explained what it means for young undocumented Haitians.
The decision by President Obama to allow young undocumented immigrants to stay in the US is what is called a âdeferred actionâ, says Nancy Francillon, supervisor attorney at Americans for Immigrants Justice (formerly Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center-FIAC), a non-profit agency providing immigration legal services to low-income individuals and advocating for common sense immigration policies.
A deferred action is a decision of the governement not to deport people who legally should be. It's an action to halt their deportation and to let them stay and work in the US, explains the attorney.
The children touched by this decision are those who came illegally with their parents in the US or who came here legally but stayed in the country without authorization. The grantees must be younger than 30, they must have been brought to the U.S. before their 16th birthdays, they must have been in the country for five continuous years, they must have no criminal history, they must have graduated from an American high school, earned an equivalent degree or served in the U.S. Military.
There is not a form or an application available yet, the government decision will take effect 60 days following the announcement. There will be no fee to pay when it will be. Only certified lawyers and recognized organization will be authorized to proceed, adds Mrs Francillon.
The deferred action is not quite the Dream Act but a step toward it. The Dream Act project has proposed to grant permanent residency status to âdreamersâ and allow them to fill later for US citizenship. âThe Dream Act was never voted by the Congress. So to help undocumented young people, to halt their deportation, President Obama issued this executive order letting them to stay and to work in the US. It's a relief but not Dream Act in itselfâ, explains Nancy Francillon.
The Deferred Action could be compared to TPS (Temporary Protected Status). It stops a lawful deportation decision but does not allow to apply for permanent residency later. But at least it allows the beneficiary to work and stay in the US legally without fear of deportation.
âSince many years, many immigrant organizations have drawn the attention of the governement on milions of young people undocumented going to school, having a high school diploma or college diploma but who, after school, can't be useful to the country because they are not authorized to work. Those children were brought here by their parents when they were babies or infants, so it's not their fault if they are undocumented. The immigrant organization have urged the governement to give those children a chance to stay legally in the US and to be useful to their adoptive countryâ, advocates Mrs Francillon.
Many young undocumented Haitians will also benefit of that decision. âWe know that when TPS were granted, some Haitian parents have applied for themselves but not for their children. This present deferred action is a new opportunity for them. Their children will be able to have a work permit, a driver licence and stay lawfully hereâ, concludes Nancy Francillon.
Related 06.15.2012: Obama Removes Threat of Deportation for Young Undocumented Immigrants