By now, you must have heard about “Deferred Action”, the process that prevents certain eligible people from being placed into removal proceedings or removed from the United States. According to DHS to be considered for deferred action under this process, an individual must:
- Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen;
- Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding June 15, 2012 and have been physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
- Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
- Not have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
- Be under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012
You must prove your identity and that you were under age 31 on 06/15/12. You will need at least one valid, government-issued photo ID for the process. For example:
- Certified copy of your birth certificate
- Valid consular ID card
- Valid passport
- Expired passports
- Expired consular ID cards
- Valid school ID
- Expired school IDs
- Photo ID documents
- Any other official photo ID
You must prove you came to the United States before age 16, have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, and evidence you were in the United States on 06/15/12. For example:
- Complete school records (cumulative transcripts should be particularly helpful)
- Medical records (including vaccination records)
- Financial records (including bank statements/checks; rent, utility or credit card bills)
- Employment records (including tax returns)
- Military records
- Other records (cell phone records; sports or academic club records; union records; church records, including baptism, communion, or confirmation records)
- Names of people who can provide declarations to support your case
You must prove you are in school, graduated from high school, have a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the military. For example:
- GED certificate
- Report cards
- School transcripts
- Military records
If you have ever been cited or arrested as a juvenile or as an adult you must obtain:
- Results of a California Department of Justice background check
- Results of an FBI background check
- Certified copies of dispositions from each citation or arrest – or proof that no charges were filed
DHS,Secretary Napolitano Announces Deferred Action Process for Young People Who Are Low Enforcement Priorities, (June 15, 2012), (available at www.DHS.gov).
Immigration Legal Resource Center, Deferred Action Summary, (June 2012), (available at www.irlc.org).
In the year 2000, the United States Congress enacted the U visa, benefiting victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. US-CIS now grants up to 10,000 U Visas per fiscal year.
There are four requirements.
The individual must have suffered
substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity.
The individual must have information concerning that criminal activity.
The individual must have been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
The criminal activity occurred in the U.S. and violated U.S. laws
Before filing, the victim must first obtain certification from Federal, State or local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, judges or agents that investigate or
prosecute crime. Other agencies like the Department of Labor or child protective services also qualify because they have a criminal investigative jurisdiction. The purpose of the certification is to validate the victimization and helpfulness of the applicant. The visa is valid for four years. Extensions are available upon re-certification and the applicant’s continued presence in the United States is still required.
Principal applicants who are under 21 years of age can petition their parents, siblings, and children for a derivative U visa. Applicants over 21 years old may only petition their spouse or children. After 3 years of becoming a U visa holder and being physically present in the United States for just as long, the U visa holder may apply for permanent residence. During those 3 years however, the applicant must have not refused cooperation. The certifying agency must also determine that the applicant’s continued presence in the country is justified on humanitarian grounds to ensure continuation of a cohesive family, or is otherwise in the national or public interest.
If the principal applicant applies for permanent residence then the derivative family members may also apply. There are two ways family members of a U nonimmigrant visa holder can apply for a green card. First, family members who hold derivative status themselves may apply. Second, family members who have never held a derivative U nonimmigrant visa may also be eligible for a green card. The conditions on those two scenarios vary and it is best to consult with a licensed attorney to determine the precise eligibility requirements and qualifications of the intending immigrant.
Furthermore, the crime must be one of the following:
- Abusive Sexual Contact
- Domestic Violence
- False Imprisonment
- Genital Female Mutilation
- Felonious Assault
- Involuntary Servitude
- Kidnapping Manslaughter
- Obstruction of Justice
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Exploitation
- Slave Trader
- Witness Tampering
- Unlawful Criminal Restraint
- Other Related Crimes
USCIS, Questions and Answers: Victims of Criminal Activity, U Non-immigrant Status (November 22, 2010) (available at www.uscis.gov).