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“In School” Qualification for Deferred Action

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on November 30, 2012

On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama announced the launch of a “deferred action” program to suspend immigration enforcement actions against qualifying individuals who came to the U.S. as children.

Qualifying individuals must be prepared to present documentation proving that they:

  • Were under the age of 31 years old as of June 15, 2012;
  • Came to the U.S. before the age of 16 years old;
  • Have resided in the U.S. continuously for at least five years prior to and including June 15, 2012; and
  • Are “currently in school” or have graduated from high school, or have obtained a certificate of completion of a high school education, or have obtained a general education development (“GED”) certificate, or have been honorably discharged as a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (the “USCIS”) has published guidelines to clarify who may qualify as “currently in school” under the rules of the deferred action program. In order to be considered “currently in school,” an individual must be enrolled in:

  • A public or private elementary school, junior high or middle school, high school or other secondary school;
  • An education, literacy or career training program (including vocational training) that is designed to lead to placement in postsecondary education, job training or employment; or
  • An education program assisting students in obtaininga high school diploma,its recognized equivalent under applicable state law, or a GED certificate or similar degree obtained by passing a state-authorized exam.

Such programs include, but are not limited to programs funded partially or completely by state or federal grants. Programs funded by other sources may also qualify if they are administered by providers of demonstrated effective needs, such as institutions of higher education , including community colleges and certain community-based organizations.

In assessing whether enrollment in these programs provide a basis for deferred action, USCIS will consider the duration of the program’s existence, the program’s track record in assisting students in obtaining high school diplomas or their equivalent, and other indicators of the overall quality of the programs. The burden is on the requestor to show that a program has the demonstrated effectiveness to comply with the rules.

If you are an individual in need of immigration assistance, do not hesitate to contact our office for an appointment to speak with a qualified immigration attorney at (847) 564-0712. You can also check out our immigration law Website for more information on how we might further assist you.