On Friday, June 15, the Department of Homeland Security announced that, effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country.
Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.
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:
- 1) Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
- 2) Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
- 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 United States;
- 4) Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
- 5) Are not above the age of thirty.
While the Administration is receiving some backlash for the decision, many groups, including the faith community, have expressed their support. The announcement came the same week that more than 150 evangelical leaders came together in an unprecedented manner to launch the Evangelical Immigration Table and call for immigration reform.