AAANY provides free assistance with Deferred Action
Since August 15th, the Arab American Association of New York has been assisting eligible individuals with Deferred Action. Please tell anyone who is interested in this process and needs free legal assistance in this matter to come to our office Wednesdays 12-5 PM.
What is Deferred Action?
Deferred action is a kind of administrative relief from deportation that has been around a long time.
(“Administrative” relief is relief that may be granted by DHS, without the person necessarily having to go
to immigration court.) It allows a non-U.S. citizen to temporarily remain in the U.S. with legal
immigration status. The person may also apply for an employment authorization document (a “work
permit”) for the period during which he or she has deferred action status. Deferred action will be
granted on a case-by-case basis. Even if you meet the requirements outlined below, DHS will still have to
decide whether to grant you deferred action. A grant of deferred action is temporary and does not
provide a path to lawful permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship.
Deferred Action Criteria:
To be eligible for deferred action, you must:
1. Have come to the United States before your sixteenth birthday.
2. Have continuously lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, and up to the present time.
3. Be present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for deferred action.
4. Not have lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012. This means you must have entered the U.S.
without papers before June 15, 2012, or, if you entered lawfully, your lawful immigration status
must have expired as of June 15, 2012.
5. Be at least 15 years old, if you have never been in deportation proceedings or your proceedings
were terminated. If you are currently in deportation proceedings, have a voluntary departure order,
or have a deportation order, and are not in immigration detention, you may apply for deferred
action even if you are not yet 15 years old.
6. Be 30 years old or younger as of June 15, 2012 (a person who had not yet turned 31 on that date is
7. Be “currently in school,” have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school,
have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or be an honorably discharged
veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. armed forces. If you are enrolled in school on the date that you
submit your deferred action application, that will be considered to “be in school.” The USCIS defines
“currently in school” to include various types of programs such as certain education programs that Prepared by The New York Immigration Coalition 8/15/12 Page 2
assist students in obtaining a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent under State law or in
passing a GED exam or other equivalent state-authorized exam. Note that not all GED programs will
automatically qualify as meeting the “currently in school” requirement.
8. Have not been convicted of a felony offense. A felony is a federal, state, or local criminal offense
punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
9. Have not been convicted of a “significant misdemeanor” offense or three or more non-significant
10. Not pose a threat to national security or public safety (DHS is still defining what these terms mean
but has indicated that they include gang membership, participation in criminal activities, or
participation in activities that threaten the U.S.).
11. Pass a background check.