U.S. Law Center

Deferred action received by 300,000 young people

Deferred action cards are giving young immigrants a new lease on life in the United States. Of the 300,000 received already, one-quarter of those are in California. These young people took a frightening leap of faith in revealing their status to the government, but have been able to gain a federally-issued work permit to begin their new life in the United States.

For children brought to the U.S. but their parents, the federal government has offered a reprieve from the threat of deportation and offered them new opportunities. There are more than 1 million illegal immigrant youths in the U.S. who will now be eligible for work permits and educational opportunities through the deferred action program. There are some catches, however, and the status can be revoked.

The deferred action status awards a two-year, renewable permit to remain in the United States, but does not offer citizenship or permanent residency status. However, it does serve as the first step toward seeking more permanent employment and citizenship.

Drunk driving is one of the crimes that can result in revocation of the status and deportation, a common mistake among young people. Many of these children have been very careful to remain 'scot-free' throughout their adolescence, and must continue to do so in order to retain their deferred action status.

Young people who are interested in deferred action status will likely have questions and concerns about the application process and what opportunities may be open to them. Speaking with an experienced immigration attorney can present options and advice in how to proceed toward this status.

Source: The San Jose Mercury News, "Cloud lifts over young immigrants seeking legal status, but concerns remain," Matt O'Brien, Nov. 17, 2012

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