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No Need to File for Deferred Action in Haste

The USCIS began accepting applications for deferred action on August 15 after making the forms available on its website the day before. Meanwhile, DREAMers are turning out in large numbers, participating in community workshops and seeking legal assistance, in anticipation of submitting their requests for consideration of deferred action.

Since the USCIS is expected to be deluged with these requests in the coming weeks and months, some individuals may think that it is better to get ahead of the pack by filing their applications early.

But perhaps it is more important to get one’s application right than to just simply get it filed. Making sure that an application is complete will help prevent unnecessary delays. A carefully prepared application will also prevent denials in cases that would otherwise merit a grant of deferred action.

Another reason why an applicant should not hastily submit a request is the fact that the new process would not allow him to appeal a denial or to file a motion to reopen or reconsider the denial.

The deferred action applicant must make sure to submit evidence that he meets the key guidelines under the new process. Examples of documents to demonstrate eligibility were provided in the guidelines issued by the DHS a few weeks ago.

To prove identity, the applicant may submit a passport, birth certificate with photo identification, a school ID with photo, or a U.S. government immigration or other document with the applicant’s name and photo. To show that he came to the U.S. before age 16, the applicant can submit a passport with an admission stamp, Form I-94, an INS or DHS document stating the date of entry, U.S. school records, travel records and hospital records.

To prove physical presence as of June 15, 2012 and continuous residence since June 15, 2007, applicants may submit rent receipts, utility bills, pay stubs, school records, religious records, money order receipts, passport entries, birth certificate for children born in the U.S., dated bank transactions, Social Security cards, car license receipts or registration, rental agreement contracts, tax receipts and insurance policies.

A final order of exclusion, deportation or removal and an I-94 with an expired date of authorized stay may be used to demonstrate that the applicant lacked lawful status as of June 15, 2012. School transcripts, report cards, high school diploma or GED certificate will prove the applicant’s student status as of the time of the request.

It is still unknown how long USCIS will take to process each application. If an applicant’s submitted documentation is insufficient, the USCIS may send him a request for evidence or ask him to appear at a USCIS office. The adjudication process also involves biographic and biometric background checks as well as supervisory review.

After deferred action is granted, the applicant may apply for advance parole if he wants to travel outside the U. S. He must file Form I-131 Application for Travel Document and pay the $360 filing fee. Generally, advance parole will be granted if the travel is for humanitarian, educational or employment purposes. Form I-131 cannot be filed concurrently with the deferred action request.

Those whose cases have been deferred under this process but already have a final order of removal may also request advance parole. However, if advance parole is granted the applicant must first reopen the case and obtain an administrative closure or termination before traveling outside the U.S.

The guidelines provide that it will be possible to apply for the extension of the period of deferred action. The applicant would also have to request an extension of his employment authorization. Even individuals who have turned 31 years old can request an extension as long as they were not above age 30 on June 15, 2012.

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