DHS Releases Details of Deferred Action

Young undocumented immigrants can apply to get temporary two-year work permits beginning August 15, at the cost of $465, officials at the Department of Homeland Security said Friday.

It was among the new details of the deferred action program, announced by the Obama administration in mid June, released by DHS.

Some young undocumented immigrants like Mubashar Ahmed, 23, senior at City College, said the fee was a high sum, but not be an obstacle to applying.

Getting some sort of status is still important so no matter how expensive the fee is we kind of don’t have a choice,” Ahmed said. “We need to get legalized.”

Citizenship and Immigration Services, which will handle applications, is a fee funded agency. It will hire additional staff to deal with what it says might be 800,000 applications nationally.

A senior administration official at DHS could not say how long it would take to process an application, adding it could “ take several months” and that it would depend on the volume.

DHS also addressed concerns that the information submitted could be used to identify undocumented relatives. “Information in the request will not be for immigration enforcement purposes,” the official said.

The department also said it wants to maximize participation of those who are eligible and will not put denied applicants or their families on track for deportation. Exceptions to that include immigrants who lie on their applications, are serious offenders, or present a national security threat.

To qualify, immigrants must have arrived in the United States before their 16th birthday, be under 31, and have lived in the U.S. for at least five years. They also need to meet education requirements and not have been convicted of a serious crime.

Undocumented immigrants convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three non-significant misdemeanors are not eligible for deferred action. 

DHS, also offered new details, saying drug distribution, sex abuse and driving under the influence would be among the offenses considered as a significant misdemeanor. Driving without a license would not fall into the category.