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Deferred Action

On June 15, 2012, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that effective immediately, certain your people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to public security or public safety, and who meet several other criteria will be considered for relief from removal or from being put into removal proceedings in the first place. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization. The criteria for deferred action are as follows:


  • Came to the United States under the age of 16;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding June 15, 2012 and were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
  • Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a GED, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, a “significant” misdemeanor, or multiple misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
  • Were not older than thirty years of age as of June 15, 2012.


Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action. Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding June 15, 2012. Deferred action requests are decided on a case-by-case basis. DHS cannot provide any assurance that all such requests will be granted. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right, immigration status, or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.


While this guidance takes effect immediately, USCIS and ICE expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days of June 15, 2012. For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria and have been offered an exercise of discretion as part of ICE’s ongoing case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer them deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.


This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be either formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.