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On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama signed an executive order and announced that his administration would stop deporting young undocumented immigrants known as "DREAMers" (i.e. those who were brought to the U.S. as young children through no fault of their own). The President’s action would alleviate the conditions of those who would benefit from the DREAM Act[1] by granting them deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.

Subsequent to the President's signing of the Executive Order, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano issued a memorandum dated June 15, 2012, announcing that, effective immediately, “DREAMers” will be considered for relief from removal. Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred action, on a case-by-case basis. Eligible individuals must show that they:

  1. came to the U.S. while under the age of 16;

  2. have continuously resided in the U.S. for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012;

  3. are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the U.S.;

  4. have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanor offenses or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;

  5. are not above the age of 30.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days. Beginning June18, 2012, individuals can call USCIS’ hotline at 1-800-375-5283 or ICE’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 during business hours with questions or to request more information on the forthcoming process.

[1] The DREAM Act (acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) is a legislative proposal first introduced in the Senate on August 1, 2001, by Senators Dick Durbin of Illinois and Orrin Hatch of Utah that would allow a select group of immigrant students to earn legal status.

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