Children who are brought into the United States without immigration authorization are deportable, often unable to attend higher education, and unable to legally work. Talented promising youth are kept from following their dreams beyond high school and could potentially end up living in hiding and in fear.
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) supports DREAM Act legislation that would give undocumented young people the ability to continue refining their talents in a real and meaningful way by allowing them to live in the U.S. permanently and work and go to school. This legislation has yet to pass but in the interim, the Obama administration has authorized the Department of Homeland Security to exercise prosecutorial discretion in some cases where persons meet the following criteria:
- came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
- has continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of June 15, 2012 and is present in the United States on the date of June 15, 2012;
- is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
- has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety; and
- is not above the age of thirty.
If you or someone you know meets these criteria please consult with a licensed immigration attorney to explore whether you can benefit from this new program. It is important to ensure you’re working with a lawyer as there have been many reported cases of fraud where unscrupulous individuals are taking advantage of vulnerable youth and the media coverage of this action by the Obama Administration. To find legal counsel and other resources, please explore the links below.