Thursday, November 8, 2012

Election Results Bring Greater Certainty to Deferred Action Program

The re-election of President Obama may spark a greater number of applications for deferred action.  The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program offered a promise to certain young aliens present in the United States illegally that the Government would not seek their removal or deportation.  The program also offered an opportunity to receive the legal authorization to work in the United States.

The President's program would provide this promise for two years.  At the end of the two years, deferred action could be renewed.  However, the program was the result of an exercise of executive discretion, and not law.  This meant that the program could be rescinded at any time.  Indeed, the grants of deferred action themselves could be rescinded.

President Obama's opponent, Mitt Romney, had expressed that he would terminate the program if he were elected.  However, he promised that any grants of deferred action under the program before his presidency would be honored.

Romney's campaign statements, and the close presidential race, left many uncertain as to the future of the deferred action program.  Would the information disclosed through the application process be used for enforcement purposes once the program had been terminated?  Would something else replace the program, or would the Federal Government pursue enforcement more vigorously?

The election should allay some fears.  Already, thousands of applicants have been granted deferred action.  However, only a small fraction of the estimated number of those aliens who could potentially benefit have actually applied.  With a greater certainty that the program will likely be around for a few years longer, this may prompt those who were hesitant to apply.

Of course, before applying, it is a good idea to consult with a legal professional knowledgeable of the program and of the risks and benefits of applying.

Here is an article discussing the greater certainty some feel about the deferred action program.

Guidelines on the deferred action program can be found on the USCIS website.

More information on deferred action can be found here.

By:  William J. Kovatch, Jr.
(703) 837-8832

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