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What is deferred action, and how can it protect kids?

Children who come to the U.S. can be in a very vulnerable position unless and until they become citizens or secure a visa. However, as kids, they have almost no control over that process until they get older.

With this in mind, it will be important to know that many people who were or are in this situation can be eligible for deferred action. This means that the child can avoid or defer actions for removal. However, as noted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are strict criteria that must be met.

In order to be considered for deferred action, a person must:

  • Be younger than 31 on June 15, 2012
  • Have arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16
  • Have lived continuously in the U.S. between June 2007 and now
  • Be enrolled in school (or have graduated from high school)
  • Not have a felony, serious misdemeanor or multiple misdemeanors on their criminal record

If a person meets these and other requirements, he or she may qualify for deferred action. If granted, the person will then have an additional two years during which they can be authorized to work and avoid removal actions.

Although it may seem straightforward, the fact is that seeking deferred actions for children can be very difficult. Further, there are many misconceptions about deferred actions that can make it very confusing to understand your options.

All this combined with the fact that immigration issues are often met with contention and disagreement can make it very difficult to get the answers you need to your questions. It can also make it very intimidating for people to even ask questions.

However, if you have any questions about immigration, citizenship or adjustments of status, you can discuss them openly with an attorney who understands the laws and what options exist to help you pursue a satisfactory outcome. With legal guidance, you can get the answers you need to build the future you want.

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