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While we continue the momentum towards passage of the DREAM Act, mothers across the country are standing in support of the 1.76 million immigrant youth who will be able, starting August 15, 2012, to seek a form of administrative relief from deportation.

This first step in the long-awaited deportation relief for youth who came to our country as children is an immense victory for families across the nation.  With that said, MomsRising, an online and on-the-ground family-oriented advocacy group of more than one million members across the nation, urges people to be very careful and thorough when applying for this new process.

At MomsRising we are absolutely thrilled that families with DREAM-eligible youth can begin to have peace-of-mind thanks to this deferred action,  although the DREAM Act is still necessary to provide youth with a permanent solution.  In applying for deferred action,we ask our youth and their parents to be very cautious when applying to this process since it has no appeal. We strongly encourage people to find a licensed attorney or accredited representative to obtain legal advice.

Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, announced by President Obama’s Administration last June, undocumented immigrant youth could be granted a two-year reprieve from deportation if they can demonstrate that they:

  • Arrived to the U.S. under age 16;
  • Have continuously resided in the U.S. for the last five years as of June 15, 2012;
  • Have not been convicted of certain crimes;
  • Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, and are currently in school, have graduated or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces.

Youth must be at least 15 years old to apply—those under 15 but otherwise eligible must wait until they reach 15 years of age before applying, unless they are already in removal proceedings.

Forms to request consideration of deferred action will be available starting on August 15, 2012. The total fees for deferred action will be $465.00; this is a universal fee that includes the application for employment authorization. In a very few instances, fee exemptions may be available such as in situations where  the applicant is homeless or in foster care, or suffers from a disability and cannot care for herself/himself. Requests for fee exemptions must be submitted prior to a request for deferred action. More information about eligibility and the process can be found at USCIS’s website.  Once an application is submitted it cannot be changed, and there is no process for appeal if it's not approved.

There have been reports of dishonest consultants, particularly those who are known as “notarios” or “immigration consultants,” saying that they will get applications approved faster if they are paid an extra fee.  This is a scam because there is no expedited processing for deferred action.

MomsRising urges the community to only trust information from a reliable source, such as the USCIS, or a reputable legal or charitable organization such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association, before requesting deferred action.

The youth of our country are our future.  All of them.  The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals process is a step in the right direction to extend the talents of our immigrant youth for the benefit of us all.

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