More than 140,000 Florida undocumented students can now apply for a temporary work visa and a stay from deportation.
Both are part of a new federal initiative which makes its easier for young immigrants to remain in the United States legally. President Barack Obama ordered the change a year and a half after the failure of the DREAM Act in Congress. That bill would have eased citizenship requirements for young undocumented immigrants.
The program is known as deferred action.
You may request to be considered for deferred action if you:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
- Came to the U.S. before reaching your 16th birthday
- Have continuously resided in the U.S. from June 2007 to the present.
- Were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time of requesting consideration for deferred action.
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or if your legal immigration status expired by June 15, 2012
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a high school diploma, a GED, or if you are an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor (or more than three misdemeanors) a DUI, or if you in any other way pose a threat to national security.
What is a significant misdemeanor?
A “significant misdemeanor,” for the deferred action program, is one where the jail time was more than five days and up to one year which meets the following criteria:
An offense of domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, burglary, unlawful possession or use of a firearm, drug distribution or trafficking or driving under the influence, or any other offense which resulted in more than 90 days in custody – regardless of the sentence imposed.
This is according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, where you can find frequently asked questions here.
Advisers helping undocumented students apply for deferred status recommend a series of YouTube video explaining the process. We’ve embedded the first video below.