LEGAL WORKSHOP: Deferred Status for Dreamers and Family Unity Waiver

This past Thursday (June 21), attorney at law Mercedes S. Cano from Centro Comunitario y de Asesoría Legal Inc., joined us to explain the new Dreamer Law ordered by U.S. president Obama on Friday June 15, 2012 and the new Family Unity Waiver proposed by Homeland Security last April. She highly recommends contacting an immigration attorney to make sure that you are eligible for either of the new laws.

The Dreamer law will stop deportations of certain undocumented youth and give them work permits for two years with the ability to renew for another two years. Although this law is effective since June 15, 2012, the actual application process has not been defined. The attorney advised to avoid scams and not send any applications until the federal agency for immigration services (USCIS) announces the forms, process and cost of application in approximately sixty days. You can check out the agency’s website for any updates at

Those eligible to apply:

  • Must be at least 15 years old to apply
  • Must have been present in the United States on June 15, 2012
  • Undocumented youth that arrived to the United States before the age of 16
  • 31 years old as of June 15 or younger
  • Currently living in the United States and have lived for at least 5 years before the Dreamer law was effective on June 15, 2012
  • Attending school, or have a high school diploma or GED, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces.
  • Clean criminal record or have not been convicted any major crimes (felony offense, significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanor offenses)
  • Must not otherwise pose a threat to national security of public safety.

Ms. Cano made emphasis that this law will not give you a green card, or citizenship. If you are approved a work permit, you may travel within the United States and show the document to officers in the country. However, it will not grant you entrance to the United States if you leave.

The new Family Unity Waiver is a new procedure that will allow certain immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens request a waiver for the 3 or 10 year penalty that makes them inadmissible for an immigrant visa prior to departing from the United States for consular processing of their immigrant visa applications. This means that certain undocumented relatives of U.S. citizens will not have to spend 3 or 10 years outside of the country before applying for their green card. This new process will be in effect within 180 days, so don’t send your applications yet.

 You can apply for the waiver if you are:

  • The spouse, child or parent of a U.S. Citizen
  • Undocumented but whose only infraction to the law was entering without documents, if you have other grounds of inadmissibility the Family Unity Waiver is invalid.
  • Currently living in the United States
  • You must be able to show that your U.S. citizen relative will suffer extreme hardship is you were not here (you provide significant income, emotional and psychological support and

The waiver does not:

  • Create a lawful immigration status or extend any authorized period of stay
  • Toll the accrual of unlawful presence
  • Protect you from being placed in removal proceedings or removed from the United States
  • Provide the right to obtain advance parole, the right to enter the United States or be granted any other immigration benefit (i.e. employment authorization)
  • Guarantee issuance of an immigrant visa or admission based upon the immigrant visa

-Diana Diaz

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