Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
One Practice. One Focus. One Passion: Immigration Law.

Deferred Action. To File Or Not To File? That is the question. Yes is the answer

Yesterday evening I was approached by a lawyer who inquired if I was advising eligible applicants to file for Deferred Action.  When I responded yes, of course, this same lawyer told me that she is doing the opposite.  That she is advising clients not to file because of concern with a potential change of administration.  Meaning:  If Mitt Romney is elected President, he will see to it that the policy (not a law) of Deferred Action is repealed and the persons who applied will be placed in immigration court proceedings.  I was appalled.

For those of you that don't know, Deferred Action is a new policy that allows persons under 31, who are illegally present in the United States, that have not been convicted of serious crimes (including DUI) and have graduated high school or are in school or served in the U.S. Military, to apply for relief.  If the application is approved, persons would be granted work authorization and in some circumstances travel authorization.  For most intents and purposes, they would be "legal" in the United States.  Essentially, this policy is dedicated towards children who were illegally brought to the United States in their parents arms.

Not only is the lawyer that I referred to above "advising" her clients to remain illegally in the United States, but her purported advice is in my opinion, ridiculous.  It is ridiculous because our government cannot financially afford to remove (deport) the millions of people that can benefit from this program.  The immigration courts are so terribly overloaded already, prosecutors from Immigration and Customs Enforcement are agreeing to administratively close cases for persons already in proceedings, with no relief.  This is known as prosecutorial discretion.

Moreover, the most draconian changes to immigration law have taken place while Democratic Presidents have been in office.  On the contrary, the most beneficial changes in immigration law (to individuals illegally present in the United States) have taken place during Republican administrations.  If history serves as any guide, a change in administration will not result in negative consequences to those who are eligible to apply for Deferred Action.

I am equally appalled by the parents of these young people who share this lawyer's sentiments.  After all, said parents risked their lives to purportedly give their children better opportunity in the United States; the greatest country in the world.  Now, people have an opportunity to see to it that their children are actually "lawful" in the United States, yet they fail to act because they are scared and/or misinformed.

In light of the above, it should come as no surprise that the government has received far less applications for Deferred Action than originally anticipated. This is unfortunate because those that have lived in the shadows of the law for almost their entire life, can now step out of the shadows and intelligently participate in our society.  In this writer's opinion, people who are eligible to apply for Deferred Action should. That's what's up.

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