Napolitano Announces Deferred Action Process for Young People Who Are Low Risk
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a
risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings.
Release Date: June 15, 2012 For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary
WASHINGTON— Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a
risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will
be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering
into removal proceedings.
Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will
be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to
renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.
“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said
Secretary Napolitano. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without
consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they
designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have
lived or even speak the language. Discretion,
which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.”
DHS continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who
pose a national security or public safety risk, including immigrants convicted
of crimes, violent criminals, felons, and repeat immigration law offenders.
Today’s action further enhances the Department’s ability to focus on these
Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following
criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred
action, on a case by case basis:
- Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
- Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the
date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this
- Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education
development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard
or Armed Forces of the United States;
- Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple
misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public
- Are not above the age of thirty.
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 today’s date. 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
While this guidance takes effect immediately, USCIS and ICE expect to begin
implementation of the application processes within sixty days. In the meantime,
individuals seeking more information on the new policy should visit USCIS’s
website (at www.uscis.gov),
ICE’s website (at www.ice.gov),
or DHS’s website (at www.dhs.gov). Beginning Monday, individuals can also call
USCIS’ hotline at 1-800-375-5283 or ICE’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 during
business hours with questions or to request more information on the forthcoming
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
For more information on the Administration policy reforms to date, please see this
This page was last reviewed/modified on June 15, 2012.
The announcement on DREAM will
be made by Napolitano today at 10:30am.