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Deferred Action for ages 16 to 30

Over the past three years, this Administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to transform the immigration enforcement system into one that focuses on public safety, border security and the integrity of the immigration system. As DHS continues to focus its limited enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety, including aliens convicted of crimes, with particular emphasis on violent criminals, felons, and repeat offenders, DHS will move to exercise prosecutorial discretion to ensure that enforcement resources are not expended on low priority cases, such as individuals who were brought to this country through no fault of their own as children, have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanor offenses, and meet other key criteria.

Effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States through no fault of their own as young children and meet several key criteria will no longer be removed from the country or entered into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action. Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today’s date. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right or pathway to citizenship.

Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

While this guidance takes effect immediately,USCIS and ICE expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days. In the meantime, individuals seeking more information on the new policy should visit USCIS’s website (at, ICE’s website (at, or follow our blog at:


    • In 2010 Republicans and Democrats worked together to pass the DREAM Act in the House with broad bi-partisan support. The youth impacted by this policy change are the same youth protected by the DREAM Act.
    • This temporary reprieve for DREAMers is giving Congress the space to reach a consensus by taking the immediate threat of deportation off the table.
    • Deferred action is not amnesty. Deferred action is not immunity. Deferred action is not permanent.
    • Deferred action is not a pathway to a green card or citizenship. Deferred action is not legal status. Youth that qualify cannot vote or petition for family members.
    • Under current law people granted deferred action are eligible to apply for work authorization. While living in the United States people must have a way to support themselves. This is not a change in immigration law.
    • These young people study in our schools, play in our neighborhoods, and pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents—sometimes even as infants—and yet they live under the threat of deportation to a country they may know nothing about, with a language they may not even speak.
    • President Obama said it best: It makes no sense to expel talented young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, and contribute to our country simply because of the actions of their parents. This is just the “right thing to do.”


    • Be 15-30 years old, and have entered before age 16
    • Have been present in the U.S. for 5 years as of June 15, 2012
    • Have maintained continuous residence
    • Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or multiple minor misdemeanors
    • Be currently in school, graduated or have a GED, or is an honorably discharged veteran
    • The deferred action offer will be available to those in proceedings, as well as to those who apply affirmatively.


May 2024