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Articles Posted in DREAM Act

It has been reported that President-Elect Joe Biden will unveil a comprehensive immigration plan on his first day in office.  The plan, which would provide a multi-year pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants currently in the United States, is expected to be sent to Congress on Wednesday, shortly after the inauguration.

The central tenet of Biden’s plan is the pathway to citizenship, which would allow certain undocumented immigrants to achieve citizenship within eight years. The plan, as reported, would give certain immigrants temporary status for five years, allow them to apply for green cards after that time and once they have met certain criteria, then allow them to apply for citizenship three years later.

For recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — so-called Dreamers who were protected under a program first started by President Barack Obama — the pathway would be streamlined, allowing them to apply for a green card immediately.

On June 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Trump Administration failed to provide an adequate justification for terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, thus violating the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). DACA remains in place for now, but the Trump Administration could renew its efforts to terminate the program.

In today’s decision, the Court did not rule on the legality of the DACA program as a whole, only on the manner in which the Administration tried to dismantle it. Though the Court held that the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to terminate DACA was arbitrary and capricious, the decision makes clear that the Department of Homeland Security has the authority to rescind the program, provided it follows proper administrative procedure.

Created in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program offered deportation relief and employment authorization to certain undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, also known as Dreamers.

(This is the final part of our three-part series with a look at DACA in the courts and how recent developments in the US Supreme Court will affect this program)

In our previous articles, we spoke about the inception of DACA, the proposed DACA expansion and the creation of the DAPA program. While the implementation of the DACA expansion and the DAPA program have been stalled in the federal courts, the original DACA program is still fully operational.

From the beginning, there have been many proponents and critics of President Obama’s plans. On one side, representatives from 26 different states banded together to challenge the President’s initiatives. There is widespread support on the other side as well, with 15 states and the District of Columbia, 73 US mayors and county officials, 181 US Representatives, four US Senators, and numerous advocacy groups representing educators, children, and immigrants, as well as various civil rights, labor, immigrants’ rights groups and business interests.

(This is part two of our three-part series on the development of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, with a look at President Obama’s its proposed expansion and the development of DAPA)

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced an expansion of the DACA program which increased the pool of potential DACA applicants by easing some of the restrictions that were previously in place. President Obama also initiated a program called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents or DAPA which would have protected the undocumented parents of US citizen children or lawful permanent resident (LPR) children.

The proposed DACA expansion had three significant changes:

(This begins our three-part series on the development of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, its proposed expansion, DAPA, and the recent developments in the US Supreme Court)

On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama unveiled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) to protect certain classes of undocumented immigrants. Under this program, the US Department of Homeland Security would not remove undocumented youth who had come to the United States as children if they had met certain criteria. Instead, these youth would be “DACAmented” and given a number of benefits that were previously unavailable to them, including the temporary permission to stay in the US under “deferred action.”

To be eligible for the initial DACA guidelines, an applicant must:

Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, in a seemingly abrupt about-face, has blocked consideration of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have paved a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants who serve in the military.

Washington insiders claimed that Cantor had quietly supported the so called “ENLIST Act,” but backed away from it due to pressure from conservatives in the party and because he fears that a pro stand on the amendment could cost him the election in the upcoming Virginia primary race.

Cantor was recently heckled by tea party activists at a GOP event in the congressman’s own district and his opponent in the primary race has been attacking him over immigration.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the New Jersey Dream Act into law on January 7, which granted undocumented immigrants in-state tuition for public universities. Before the bill was signed into law, undocumented immigrants living in New Jersey had to pay the higher out-of-state tuition rate.

In-state tuition is substantially less expensive than out-of-state tuition. For instance, the in-state tuition for Rutgers is $10,700 annually, whereas out-of-state tuition runs $24,700 annually — a difference of $14,000.

It is estimated that some six percent of New Jersey’s population is undocumented immigrants.

In light of the previous election season in the United States and President Obama’s mention of the DREAM Act in his State of the Union, immigration has become a highlighted issue in politics once again. The DREAM Act (acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors), as originally written, proposes the granting of citizenship to illegal immigrants who were brought to the US at a young age, are of good moral standing, have attended US public school, and are pursuing higher education. The Act has always been controversial in the Senate and House of Representatives because of the mixed messages it could send to the immigrant community.

The candidates from the Republican Party made their opinion on the Act public: they were willing to pass it if it included that the individuals serve in the military. The Democrats, who are cautious in their decisions because of their hope to maintain the presidency, had mixed reactions. Some maintained their desire to pass the act in its entirety and disapproved of the Republican idea to include military service because it essentially tells illegal immigrants that to become citizens they must enlist in the armed forces.

Democrats have been criticized for their unwillingness to compromise on the requirements of the Act, which hindered its passing by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet the criteria may apply for deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will officially begin accepting requests for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or more popularly known as, DREAMers) on August 15, 2012, and not any time before.

Deferred action is a discretionary determination to suspend deportation proceedings on an individual. Deferred action does not confer lawful status on an individual and does not excuse individuals of any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence.

You may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you:

Now Processing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

On August 15, 2012, USCIS released the forms and has started accepting applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The benefit of this application, when approved by USCIS, is that the alien will be given work authorization and will be protected against deportation.

The legal team at Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo, LLC has started processing and filing applications for Deferred Action for those undocumented aliens and overstaying foreign nationals who arrived in the United States before their 16th birthday. Individual applicants may file the application for deferred action by themselves but we encourage you to seek legal advice before proceeding. Only a licensed attorney will be qualified to provide advice on the sufficiency and advisability of filing the application, the proper documentation to prove your eligibility, on options for travelling outside the country, and on possible immigration consequences of filing the application.

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