Immigration Roundup: Deferred Action, Work Authorization Process Announced

On Aug. 15, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin accepting a new form requesting deferred action in conjunction with a form requesting work authorization under the Department of Homeland Security's new deferred action policy, USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas announced.

The process follows a June 15 memorandum by DHS detailing a new policy to avoid deportation of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children and meet certain criteria, including that they have not been convicted of a felony.

Mayorkas said Aug. 3 that those who meet program criteria must complete the deferred action and work authorization forms, including the processing fee of $465. Once USCIS receives the forms the applicants will be scheduled for biometrics appointments and will be subject to background checks to ensure that they did not commit the types of criminal offenses that would make them ineligible for deferred action.

According to USCIS, applicants for deferred action also must apply for work authorization because applicable regulations require such immigrants to carry work authorization cards as a form of identification that separates them from those who are eligible for deportation.

Whether deferred action and work authorization are granted will be determined on a case-by-case basis looking at the totality of the circumstances, USCIS said.

The move was criticized by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). "On the same day the unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent, the Obama administration announced a requirement for illegal immigrants to apply to be able to work in the U.S. The administration's guidelines don't just encourage illegal immigrants to work in the U.S.-they actually require them to apply to do so. This is a slap in the face to the 23 million unemployed or underemployed Americans," Smith said.


In Other Developments:

  • The Senate approved Aug. 2, by unanimous consent, legislation (S. 3245) that would reauthorize four immigration-related programs, including E-Verify, for three years. The legislation would also extend authorization for the EB-5 regional center program, the Conrad State 30 J-1 visa waiver program, and the special immigrant nonminister religious worker program.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services launches an online Multilingual Resource Center that contains information from the agency in up to 22 languages, including Haitian Creole, Polish, and Vietnamese.
  • DHS's Blue Campaign to combat human trafficking and forced labor recently hosted a biannual stakeholder meeting. According to DHS, during the meeting participants discussed "efforts to support victims, raise awareness of human trafficking, and increase collaboration on anti-human trafficking initiatives."


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