Since the Obama Administration announced on June 15 that it will implement a three-pronged policy to provide administrative relief to certain young undocumented immigrants, our office has been flooded with questions about the new initiative. We are hopeful that this small policy tweak will provide much deserved relief to this class of young immigrants, but we have been frustrated and worried by apparent predatory practices unfolding in our community around this issue.
At the time of the announcement, the Department of Homeland Security announced (1) that it would administratively close pending removal (deportation) cases affecting qualified individuals, (2) that it would direct Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to avoid placing qualified individuals into proceedings, (3) and that in the next 60 days it would craft a process by which qualified individuals can apply for youth Deferred Action.
What this means is that for most affected individuals, there is no new process nor will there be one until mid-August. Unfortunately, this has not prevented some news outlets from promoting the idea that the new policy is already in effect and “open,” and it has not prevented notarios, unscrupulous attorneys, and other predatory practitioners from encouraging immigrant families to pay them and sign up for “advanced processing” of this new process.
Generally speaking, we do not think it is a good idea to pay someone in advance for completion of a process that neither they nor you nor anyone understands in detail. A young woman called us yesterday to ask us if she should sign up with this Web site, which appears to be one such predatory immigration operation. We directed her instead to the USCIS immigration Web site, which states clearly that there is no process available yet.
For the time being, the advice we are giving young undocumented immigrants is to gather proof of their 1) identity and age, 2) time of entry and presence in the U.S. on approximately June 15, 3) clean criminal record, and 4) current attendance or completion of high school. Students who have left school without graduating can pursue their G.E.D. and may be able to qualify for the program that way. And aspiring Deferred Action candidates should not pay anyone to pre-process applications for a process that doesn’t exist yet.
We will keep our readers updated as new information becomes available.