Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he supports President Obama’s immigration policy to allow those who entered as children to remain in the U.S. On August 15, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting requests for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals. These include individuals who have entered the U.S. as children either with or without inspection.
On June 15, 2012, Secretary Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security announced that people that came to the U.S. as children and who meet key guidelines may request consideration for deferred action. Deferred action is a determination by USCIS to defer removal action of those who are unlawfully present and remain in the U.S. If granted deferred action, the individual will not be removed for a two-year period that is subject for renewal and may also apply for employment authorization.
According to the USCIS website, the individuals who meet the following are eligible:
- 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.
“I want to thank President Obama and Secretary Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security for their efforts in providing an opportunity for many of those who have entered the U.S. as children and who have remained to live in the U.S. This is a critical moment in reforming our immigration system to allow the many individuals who have been raised here in the U.S. all their lives and who consider the U.S. as their home and country,” Faleomavaega said.
“As we all know, many of our Pacific Islander families have immigrated to the U.S. through the visa process in search of better opportunities and a higher quality of life. Unfortunately, due to misunderstanding and misinformation regarding the U.S. immigration system, many have overstayed, including their children. Like the Obama Administration and some Members of Congress, I agree that it is not fair to punish these children who have always believed that they are Americans. While the Congress continues to work on the Dream Act, this new policy will be helpful for many individuals who have continuously to live in fear of deportation.”
“At this time, it is uncertain how long the applications will be processed but I do know that USCIS has developed a rigorous review process in order to maintain the safety of our national security and ensure that our immigration system remains vigilant. I highly recommend that those who are eligible should apply while the opportunity is there to remain in the U.S. without fear of deportation.”
“Although this does not address the problems we face with our immigration system, I applaud President Obama for taking the initiative to allow those who are able and willing to contribute to our nation,” Faleomavaega concluded.
For more information, please visit the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals. It will provide instructions and the necessary application forms.