Many young people who were brought to the U.S. by their parents as small children have no connections to their country of origin. Despite the practical reality that such young people may feel that the only home they know is in the U.S., these immigrants, now commonly referred to as “DREAMers,” continue to face legal limbo in terms of their immigration status despite President Obama’s creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (also known as “The Dream Act”) by way of executive order in 2012.
Many anticipated that the executive order served as a pre-election harbinger for comprehensive immigration reform when President Obama was re-elected. Many DREAMers were especially optimistic after bi-partisan legislation passed in the Senate in June of 2013, which included a pathway to citizenship for those who met certain qualifying criteria. Unfortunately, efforts to enact comprehensive immigration reform faded in the Republican controlled House. Public pronouncements by those on both sides of the political spectrum seem to indicate widespread consensus that immigrants brought here as children have the strongest justification for legal status. However, the failure to agree on other aspects of immigration reform have left many young immigrants who are currently attending universities or obtaining other forms of career training in an ongoing legal no man’s land.
Although the Dream Act was welcomed by young immigrants, the executive order offers a fairly narrow form of legal relief. The program does not secure legal status for young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. President Obama’s version of the Dream Act merely offers certain young people a brief reprieve from the threat of deportation. The hope was that during this interim period during which young immigrants could continue pursuing their college education or other career training Congress and the President would arrive at a more extensive long-term solution. To date, these dreams remain just that – dreams.
Recently two groups of young people intentionally traveled into Mexico so that they could re-focus attention on the quandary faced by DREAMers by re-entering the Mexico-U.S. border without documentation. Both the DREAM9 that re-entered in Arizona and the DREAM30 that re-entered in Texas were detained by immigration officials. Both groups asserted claims for political asylum based on fears of violence from the drug cartels in Mexico. Although the young immigrants are permitted to remain in the U.S. while their asylum applications are evaluated, this too may prove only a temporary reprieve.
Although the Dream Act offers only temporary relief from the threat of deportation, it is better than no protection for those who qualify. To qualify for relief under the deferred action program, you must meet the following criteria:
• Continuous residence in the United States since June 15, 2007
• Entry into the U.S. before the applicant’s 18th birthday
• Younger than 31 on June 15, 2012
• Entry without inspection (unlawful) prior to June 13, 2012 or expiration of lawful entry prior to that date
• Currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a GED certificate or have been honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Services or Coast Guard
• No convictions of a felony or significant misdemeanor or three other misdemeanors
• Must not be considered a threat to public safety or national security
• Presence within the U.S. when the application is submitted
Our experienced Cincinnati Immigration Attorneys at Geygan & Geygan, LTD. understand that many people have questions about their ability to qualify under these requirements. Some also have fears and concerns that the information may be used improperly by immigration enforcement authorities once the program has expired. Our legal team offers a free initial consultation so that we can analyze your situation and advise you regarding your rights and concerns. We invite you to call us at (513) 791-1673 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your free initial consultation to learn how we can help.