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DHS Announces Application Process for Deferred Action, IPC Provides Data on Where Eligible Individuals Reside

August 3, 2012 

Washington D.C. – Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released important details about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process, which will temporarily allow some eligible youth to go to school and work without fear of deportation. A recent Immigration Policy Center (IPC) report, Who and Where the DREAMers Are: A Demographic Profile of Immigrants Who Might Benefit from the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action Initiative, provides the most detailed look to date at who is likely to benefit from the new program and where they are located in the country.

The IPC estimates that roughly 936,930 undocumented youth between the ages of 15 and 30 might immediately qualify to apply for the new program. The new report breaks down the deferred action-eligible population by nationality and age at the national and state level, as well as by congressional district.

Because potential applicants reside in all states and every congressional district, today’s announcement clarifying the application process sets the stage for an intense period of preparation around the country, as communities wait for the request form to be released on August 15. The DACA program is designed for young people who are under the age of 31; entered the United States before age 16; have resided in the country for at least five years as of June 15, 2012; have not been convicted of a felony, a “significant” misdemeanor, or three other misdemeanors; and are currently in school, graduated from high school, earned a GED, or served in the military.

Among the key points shared by USCIS:

– A new form will be available on August 15. All DACA requests will require payment of the standard $85 biometric fee, but no additional fee will be charged. Persons who wish to receive work authorization must pay, with limited exemptions, the current employment authorization document fee of $365.

– Information provided on the form will be kept confidential, including information relating to applicants’ family members or legal guardians, meaning it will not be used for immigration enforcement proceedings, unless the applicant meets current USCIS criteria for referral to Immigration and Customs Enforcement or issuance of a Notice to Appear (NTA) in immigration court.

– DHS will deem “significant” any misdemeanor, regardless of the sentence imposed, involving burglary, domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, unlawful possession of firearms, driving under the influence, or drug distribution or trafficking. In addition, DHS will deem significant any other misdemeanor for which an applicant was sentenced to more than 90 days in jail, not including suspended sentences and time held pursuant to immigration detention.  Minor traffic offenses and convictions for immigration-related offenses classified as felonies or misdemeanors by state laws (e.g. Arizona SB 1070) will not be considered.

Most of the potential beneficiaries of deferred action live in large immigrant-receiving states like California and Texas, but many also reside in North Carolina, Georgia, Colorado, and Washington State, and nearly every state has a significant DREAMer population. Also, while nearly 70 percent of potential beneficiaries are from Mexico, there are significant populations from Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and Asia. In some states, such as Virginia, the population is quite diverse, with no single dominant nationality.

Knowing who the potential beneficiaries are and where they live will be critical as USCIS initiates this new program. Using this data, USCIS, as well as advocates offering assistance, can locate pockets of potential beneficiaries who may be living in geographic areas that are underserved or who may require information in languages that were unanticipated.

To read the USCIS Guidance and IPC report see:

Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process (USCIS Website)

Who and Where the DREAMers Are: A Demographic Profile of Immigrants Who Might Benefit from the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action Initiative (IPC Fact Check, July 2012)

For press inquiries contact, Wendy Sefsaf at  202-812-2499  or wsefsaf@immcouncil.org.


The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), established in 2003, is the policy arm of the American Immigration Council. IPC’s mission is to shape a rational conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, IPC provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy on U.S. society. IPC reports and materials are widely disseminated and relied upon by press and policy makers. IPC staff regularly serves as experts to leaders on Capitol Hill, opinion-makers and the media. IPC is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office.

 Division of the American Immigration Council.    

Immigration Denver – Five misconceptions about hiring an immigration attorney

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Are you in need of an immigration lawyer?

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Despite the need for expert advice on immigration concerns, many people are still apprehensive about hiring an immigration attorney.  Some of the most common misconceptions about hiring an immigration attorney are addressed below.

1. An immigration attorney could be any lawyer, even a notario.

False. An immigration attorney is a lawyer specializing in immigration laws. Although any lawyer could provide general advice on most cases, not all lawyers will have the focus and expertise you’ll need to solve your immigration concerns, which can be very complex.

A notario or notary, on the other hand, is not the same as a professional, licensed lawyer. Notarios are not regulated as lawyers are. Although some of them may be popular in a community, they have not studied to practice law, they are not legally allowed to represent you in immigration court or at an immigration interview, and they do not have access to updates on the constantly changing immigration laws and policies.  Furthermore, because notarios do not have a professional license, they cannot be penalized in the same way an attorney could be if you are victimized by their dishonest or incompetent legal advice.  It is always best to consult an experienced and trusted immigration attorney.

2.  Immigration attorneys will never give me advice regarding my immigration case at the initial consultation. I will have to keep coming back then.

False. An initial consultation or the first meeting between the client and his/her attorney usually lasts about an hour. During the meeting, your immigration attorney will gather all information from you that is necessary to understand the facts of your case, as well as review all related documents. Then, your attorney will provide you with an assessment of your case and will present your options to you.  Normally, by the end of the consultation, you will know your options, how much the process will cost, as well as the next steps.

A good immigration lawyer will allow you to make an informed decision even as early as your first meeting by providing honest and professional advice regarding the risks and benefits of proceeding with your immigration case.

3. A good immigration lawyer can guarantee my winning the case.

False. No ethical attorney will guarantee the outcome of a case.  It is rather impossible to guarantee how a case will turn out, particularly in the field of immigration law, where decisions are made by immigration officials, Border Patrol Agents, and Immigration Judges, among others. However, an experienced and responsible attorney will explain to you the likelihood of your case winning or losing, and should always do so.

4. I can only find out the status of my case from my immigration attorney.

False. There’s no need to wait for your immigration attorney if you want to know the status of your case.  If you have an application receipt number (usually this is sent in the mail by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sometime after they have received your application) and your case is pending at an Immigration Service Center, you can check the status of your application online at www.uscis.gov or by calling USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 and following the automated instructions.

If your case is pending at an Immigration Court or the Board of Immigration Appeals, you may check the status of your case by calling: 1-800-898-7180, with your alien number (starts with an A and you will find it in your immigration documentation), and following the automated instructions. There are options to hear your status in Spanish or English.

5. Once I have acquired the services of one attorney, I am bound to her until the case ends even if I feel that my case is not being handled properly.

False. You have the right to the attorney of your choice, and you may change attorneys at any time even if you have signed a contract with a particular attorney.  Keep in mind that you should ask about what, if any, impact changing attorneys could have on your case and what retainer money you will have returned to you.  You must end representation with one attorney before beginning with another – make sure your intentions are clear when speaking to your current attorney as well as any potential future attorney.

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