National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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Policy Update: New Information on Deferred Action

August 08, 2012 - Posted by Josh Breisblatt

On Friday, August 3, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provided some important details about the highly anticipated and much discussed deferred action initiative originally announced by the Obama Administration on June 15.

The new information explains how the deferred action process (a form of administrative relief from deportation) will work for those who qualify, namely certain young people who were brought to the U.S. as children. This initiative has been given the acronym DACA, which stands for deferred action for childhood arrivals.

Some newly released highlights include answers to the following questions:

  • When? Beginning August 15, 2012, and not before then, individuals requesting deferred action will submit their request to U.S. Citizenship and Integration Services (USCIS). Forms to request consideration will not be available until that date. Requests made before August 15 will be rejected.
  • How? Forms will be publicly available at no charge from USCIS. After August 15, deferred action request forms should be submitted along with an employment authorization application. All requestors eventually will be required to provide biometrics and undergo background checks.
  • To whom? All requests should be sent to USCIS. The only exception is for individuals currently detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Individuals in ICE detention must request deferred action directly from ICE by contacting the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday–Friday) or by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
  • Cost? The total fee for deferred action will be $465. This is a universal fee that includes the application for employment authorization. In very few instances, fee exemptions may be available, such as if the applicant is homeless, in foster care, or suffers from a disability and cannot care for himself or herself. Requests for fee exemptions must be submitted prior to a request for deferred action.
  • What if the request is denied? There is no opportunity to appeal a denial of deferred action. If USCIS declines to grant deferred action, cases involving a criminal offense, fraud, or a threat to national security or public safety will be referred to ICE for enforcement purposes.
  • Who is eligible? Additional guidelines explain who would not qualify for deferred action. Information is also now available about evidence required to meet the criteria for deferred action. New guidelines include:
  • 1) Eligible individuals must not have been convicted of a felony, “significant misdemeanor,” three or more other misdemeanors, and must not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
  • 2) Affidavits by themselves generally will not be sufficient evidence of eligibility.


  • More Information — Deferred Action Resources

    Government Resources
  • Memorandum: Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children, Janet Napolitano, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, June 15, 2012.
  • On August 3, USCIS posted multiple resources to help individuals navigate the process:
  • 1) A detailed USCIS flowchart on who is eligible for deferred action.
  • 2) A helpful flier from USCIS that includes details on eligibility for deferred action and the process for applying.
  • 3) USCIS website spells out the deferred action process.
  • 4) USCIS also has a resource for avoiding scams when applying for deferred action.


  • Advocacy Resources

  • Administrative Action: Deferred Action for Certain Young People, the National Immigration Forum’s resource page for deferred action.
  • FAQ: Deferred Action for Certain Immigrant Youth, the National Immigration Law Center’s frequently asked questions page for deferred action, has detailed information describing deferred action, the necessary requirements, and how to apply.
  • Stop Notario Fraud, from the American Immigration Lawyers Association. This website has extensive information describing immigration fraud, where to get help, and where to find legitimate immigration legal services.
  • Consumer Advisory on Deferred Action, the American Immigration Lawyers Association's detailed consumer advisory on how to avoid scams when it comes to deferred action.
  • Crossroads Campaign Solutions