New DREAM Deferral Details Released: $465 Cost to Applicants

New details were released yesterday by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) about the application process for President Obama's new program deferring deportation for undocumented young residents for up to two years.

The cost for a work permit will be $465.00. Lawyers aren't needed. The applications will be available August 15.

Here is the press release. [More...]

Who is eligible? Those who:

  • Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  • Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  • Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  • Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  • Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

What is a significant misdemeanor?

For the purposes of this process, a significant misdemeanor is a misdemeanor as defined by federal law (specifically, one for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days) and that meets the following criteria:

Regardless of the sentence imposed, is 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,

If not an offense listed above, is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of more than 90 days. The sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and therefore does not include a suspended sentence.

Here is a handy chart.

There will be no fee waivers but there will be some exemptions. "Eligibility criteria include homelessness, a serious disability or at least $25,000 in unpaid medical bills."

ICE says those applying should not fear repercussions for adult family members: The applications are confidential and will not be used to track others for enforcement purposes.

The Pew Center says up to 1.4 million youths may benefit from the program.

In 2010, the Pew Center says the total undocumented population in the U.S. was 11.2 million, almost unchanged from the prior year.

This is not an amnesty program or a path to citizenship:

Deferred action is a form of prosecutorial discretion that does not confer lawful permanent resident status or a path to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

It is still necessary for Congress to pass The Dream Act. And then some relief for the adult undocumented among us.

Here's a summary of today's news conference.

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  • Display: Sort:
    kick the can down the road... (none / 0) (#1)
    by diogenes on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 12:47:37 AM EST
    "deferring deportation for undocumented young residents for up to two years."

    Just kicking the can down the road.  On well, he does it with the deficit, why not on immigration too?

    yup (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by TeresaInPa on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 01:34:41 AM EST
    he talks purty though.

    I don't get it... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by lentinel on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 05:58:47 AM EST
    You pay $495, work for two years, and then get kicked out?

    Sounds great.


    Relative cost. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Addison on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 08:13:45 AM EST
    $495 is cheap. How much are H1-B visas? How much would 2 years worth of other visas be? Now, of course these people shouldn't need visas, but given current law (which President Obama can't change) even as a mere application fee for a visa-like official deferral covering 2 years of residence in the United States, $495 is a good deal and very much in line with other visa fees. Certainly given the insanity of certain states regarding this issue the piece of mind (even for 2 years) is worth $495.

    No, not $495. (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Peter G on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 12:02:40 PM EST
    As Jeralyn clearly says, it's $465.  More seriously, what happens after the two years expire to someone who applies for and receives this status is troublesome.  For an eligible DREAMer who currently faces little risk of "removal" (deportation), simply because of enforcement priorities, does applying for this new status provide additional meaningful protection?  And does receiving it increase the risks that person faces two years from now, because the application process in effect includes an admission of deportability, or otherwise?  Those are the questions bothering me.  The reassurances offered in the USCIS press release FAQs are lukewarm, at best. (I am thinking about it more because a young, slightly-distant, younger cousin recently married his longtime girlfriend, whom he met in college, and who would meet the eligibility criteria for this program.)

    And the full costs are far more, no doubt (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Towanda on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 04:40:17 PM EST
    as you no doubt also know.

    Daughter-in-law's costs came to thousands, even for a fiancee visa (less than some), even without an immigration lawyer and doing it on our own (I am her financial sponsor).  

    Do these visas also require medical checkups and records, police checks and records -- both of those cost a lot -- plus costs of lots of copying and postage for each stage along the way, plus costs of the trips to the embassy -- in another city, hundreds of miles away for her -- plus overnight stays in that city, etc.


    Wow. (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Addison on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 08:06:40 AM EST
    An interesting comment for a couple reasons. One, the best economic policy for Obama's first term was, in fact, to kick the deficit can down the road. I feel like you have an issue with deferring a "fix" for the current deficit issue? He really should have ignored deficit talk altogether, but actually "fixing" the deficit issue would have been disastrous. This wasn't the time to deal with the deficit, it was the time to use cheap lending rates to "increase" the deficit now to build capacity for increased GDP/revenues later.

    But maybe I've got your opinion on the deficit wrong.

    And, of course, absent an act of Congress they can't reasonably give permanent amnesty to these individuals anyway. So it's of course going to involve a deferred action within the existing deportation law based in a department, rather than a solid and permanent immigration/amnesty law.

    I'd prefer the DREAM Act, too, but forging this positive development into yet another hammer to passive aggressive demean President Obama with is a stretch. It's a lesser positive, not a negative, and there's a difference.


    You're correct (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by NYShooter on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 10:31:00 AM EST
    In believing that,

    "the best economic policy for Obama's first term was, in fact, to kick the deficit can down the road."

    And, had he taken the advice of numerous, renowned, Progressive economists (who, tragically, were shut out of White House Discussions ) of "kicking the deficit can down the road," AND replacing the public shortfall in demand with Government spending, and subsidies for a devastated Public Sector, we might be on the road to a robust economic rebound as we speak.
    One without the other was a formula for failure as those shunned economists loudly protested. While all of Obama's energies were spent on shoring up the causal entities, the "Too Big To Fail institutions,"  the traditional engine of demand, the "Too Small To Matter Public," was hung out to dry.

    And, FWIW, the "kicking the deficit can down the road" initiative wasn't even an Obama idea. If you'll recall, he wanted to implement an unprecedented, draconian, assault on the deficit, part of his (in)famous "Grand Bargain" that he offered the Republicans. But, the Republicans, taking solace from the refrain, "be careful what you wish for," deftly rejected his offer, and rightly assumed that if they went along with his catastrophic offer they would be blamed for the economic fallout rather than Obama, as is the case now.

    So, instead of running on his record, and being hailed as the hero that got us out of the mess the Republicans got us into, he's left with being a willing co-conspirator and hoping that these token crumbs he's offering here will be enough to squeak past the most self-destructive lunatic Candidate the R's could foist upon us.


    I agree... (none / 0) (#8)
    by Addison on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 11:09:25 AM EST
    ...all of which is why I found diogenes' comment on the deficit bizarre. Although, again, perhaps diogenes isn't actually an absolutist deficit hawk and I'm misinterpreting what s/he meant by "...kicking the can down the road.  On well, he does it with the deficit, why not on immigration too?"

    kicking the can (none / 0) (#11)
    by diogenes on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 07:32:28 PM EST
    Sooner or later we'll have to print money to pay off the Chinese and European bondholders who are flocking to buy treasury bills because they are "safe".  Much better to print it now, when inflation is low, and have endless rounds of QE.  At least our debt to GDP ratio will stay low while we increase the money supply.

    The proposed fed. legislation (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 06:23:52 AM EST
    to terminate federal employees who are delinquent re I.R.S. makes the promise the DREAM Act shall not adversely affect other family members a falsity.  

    I cannot follow the train of thought here (none / 0) (#12)
    by Peter G on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 11:43:14 AM EST
    Could you please explain what you are suggesting? What does one thing have to do with the other, in your view?

    Thanks for asking! I was thinking (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 12:41:35 PM EST
    of this House bill:  Chavetz

    But my thought process is flawed.  Apparently the I.R.S. reveals information as to federal employees who aren't current with their federal tax obligations.

    My thought was:  don't trust one part of the federal government not to reveal purportedly private info to another part of the federal government.  Hence my worry about DREAM act participants' relatives being outed to I.C.E.  


    Good thing (none / 0) (#14)
    by Zorba on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:05:33 PM EST
    that we are always on time with our federal taxes, since Mr. Zorba is a federal employee.
    (Although, if no budget agreement is reached and sequestration occurs, who knows if he'll even have a job to go to after January 1?)

    The IRS actually has a good reputation (none / 0) (#15)
    by Peter G on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:19:50 PM EST
    and track record for not revealing taxpayer information to other government agencies, except as expressly authorized or directed by Congress.  I don't know that I can say the same for USCIS or ICE.