WASHINGTON, August 5, CMC – The United States says it will begin on August 15 to process applications from hundreds of thousands of young illegal Caribbean and other immigrants expected to seek two-year deferrals of deportation.
On June 15, US President Barack Obama said certain young people who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines may be eligible, on a case-by-case basis, to receive deferred action.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said on Saturday that it is finalizing a process by which potentially eligible individuals may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals.
USCIS director Alejandro Mayorkas said applicants will be charged US$465 for each request.
He said applications, which will also include requests for work permits, will be considered individually, with each immigrant undergoing a criminal and national security background check.
Mayorkas said information from the applications would not be used for immigration enforcement, which is handled by a separate agency.
Nevertheless, he said Caribbean and other immigrants found to have serious criminal histories or to pose national security risks would be prosecuted for deportation, and anyone submitting a fraudulent application could face criminal prosecution.
Mayorkas said illegal immigrants can apply whether they are already in deportation proceedings or they have never been detected by the authorities.
He said applicants who have committed a felony, a “significant” misdemeanor like a firearms or burglary violation, or three or more misdemeanors will not be eligible.
The immigration director said driving without a license will not be a disqualifying offense, adding that many illegal immigrants have committed that violation because they do not qualify for licenses in most states.
“It is important to note that this process is not yet in effect and individuals who believe they meet the guidelines of this new process should not request consideration of deferred action before August 15, 2012,” the USCIS said. “Requests submitted before August 15, 2012 will be rejected.”
It said individuals who believe they are eligible should be aware of immigration scams.
“Unauthorized practitioners of immigration law may try to take advantage of you by charging a fee to submit forms to USCIS on your behalf,” it said. “Remember, the Wrong Help Can Hurt!”