WASHINGTON – The Asian American Center for Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice)—Asian American Institute (AAI), Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), Asian Law Caucus (ALC), and Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC)—have established free legal assistance hotlines in Asian languages for undocumented youth (DREAMers) who are eligible for deferred action relief.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that starting on August 15th certain DREAMers may apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for relief from deportation or from being placed into deportation proceedings. This is a historic opportunity for the approximately 1.76 million DREAMers potentially eligible for deferred action, of whom about one in ten are Asian American and Pacific Islanders.
ADVANCING JUSTICE NATIONAL HOTLINE CONTACT INFORMATION
Individuals in California and throughout the nation who believe they may qualify under the deferred action relief program should contact Los Angeles-based APALC for free direct assistance at (888) 349-9695 or by email at email@example.com. APALC will conduct clinics from 2:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, during which DREAMers will be individually assisted by APALC staff and trained volunteers. Appointments are mandatory. Those who wish to attend the clinics or have any other questions can call APALC at the phone numbers listed below:
English – (888) 349-9695
Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) – (800) 520-2356
Khmer – (800) 867-3126
Korean – (800) 867-3640
Tagalog – (888) 349-9695
Thai – (800) 914-9583
Vietnamese – (800) 267-7395
Individuals also can contact the San Francisco-based ALC at (415) 896-1701 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advancing Justice warns that individuals should be careful of services that offer to expedite the adjudication of applications. USCIS has stated that expedited adjudication is not available under this program. Also, individuals should only seek the assistance of trusted and knowledgeable immigration attorneys and community based organizations.
ABOUT THE DEFERRED ACTION RELIEF PROGRAM
The deferred action application and accompanying work permit application are now available and can be accessed at http://tinyurl.com/deferredaction. An application will cost $465, which includes the fees for requesting an employment authorization document and biometrics. There are no fee waivers available for applications, and only very limited fee exemptions. To obtain information on the application form and fees, check the USCIS website located at www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.
Deferred action requests can be made directly to USCIS for eligible individuals who are not in detention. This includes individuals not in removal proceedings, individuals in removal proceedings, and those with final orders of removal or voluntary departure orders. If an individual is in detention, the person requesting deferred action should bring the matter directly to his/her detention officer or contact the ICE Office of the Public Advocate by calling (888) 351-4024.
To be eligible for deferred action, the following requirements must be established:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States under the age of 16;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007 up to the present time;
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012 or have expired lawful immigration status as of June 15, 2012;
- Are currently be in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, three of more other misdemeanor offenses, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
In all instances, the applicant cannot be 31 or older as of June 15, 2012. If the individual has never been in removal proceedings or if proceedings were terminated before the request for deferred action, the person must be at least 15 years of age at the time of filing for deferred action. If the individual is in removal proceedings, has a final removal order or a voluntary departure order, the person can request consideration for deferred action even if under the age of 15 at the time of filing.
There is no appeal if a case is denied, but DHS has indicated that some cases will undergo supervisory review. If the case is denied, USCIS will apply existing rules in determining whether the individual should be placed into removal proceedings.