Deferred Action

Why Driver’s License Costs in Texas Are Pivotal in the Immigration Supreme Court Case

By Peek & Toland on May 17, 2016

The cost of driver’s licenses in Texas may appear to be a dull, secondary issue in the pivotal Supreme Court immigration case of United States v. Texas, but it’s likely to be a crucial factor in the case.

Oral arguments were presented last month in a hearing that is one of the most significant immigration cases to come before the nation’s highest court this century and could provide relief to as many as 4 million undocumented immigrants. More than half of the country’s states are opposed to two initiatives that are central to President Obama’s immigration policy, known as DAPA and DACA.

The cost of driver's licenses are key to Texas's case against Obama's immigration policy

The cost of drivers’ licenses is pivotal in U.S v. Texas

  • DAPA is Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. It’s an immigration policy that would give deferred action status to certain classes of undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States since 2010 and have children.
  • DACA is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It’s an initiative aimed at non-citizens who arrived in the United States as children and is explained here in more depth by Peek & Toland, PLLC. Under DACA some people who came to this country when they were young and meet certain guidelines “may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal,” states U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

As the lead plaintiff in this case, Texas must show that the action would hurt it in some way. That’s where driver’s licenses come in.

Texas is arguing it would take a major financial hit when it processes driver’s licenses for immigrants who have an illegal status because their deportation would be deferred under the president’s executive action. The state expects an upsurge in driver’s license applications after granting work authorization to previously undocumented immigrants.

The office of Texas’s attorney general has claimed Obama’s initiative would cause an upsurge in applications for driver’s licenses, making them more costly to issue. Texas must show it suffered a significant degree of “injury” to sue, but there is considerable skepticism about the driver’s license argument amid speculation it is merely a smokescreen to clothe a naked political agenda against immigration.

The state’s arguments were recently undermined by a Reuters article that quoted Bill Beardall, of the University of Texas Law School. Beardall, who is also the executive director of the Equal Justice Center, said the state’s claims are “tenuous.”

Texas claims the additional driver’s licenses would cost $103 million. However, that figure is nearly three times what Texas currently budgets every year for all driver’s licenses to 27 million people, Reuters reported.

Writing in the Huffington Post, Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, states:

“Texas is engaging in legal obfuscation they hope others won’t notice. First, having work authorization wouldn’t make those with DAPA or DACA eligible for licenses. It’s having received deferred action that allows immigrants to apply for and become tested, licensed, and insured drivers.”

It remains to be seen if the judges will issue a decision based on the case’s merits. A decision is likely in June and there is speculation that the Supreme Court will be split. Many of last months’ arguments concerned whether the states have standing to sue over the executive orders in the first place which is why the seemingly obscure arguments about driving licenses in Texas could prove to be so important. To find out more about the immigration reforms,

If you are affected by DAPA or DACA, it’s natural that you will be experiencing a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. Our Austin immigration attorneys can help you understand the process and to find out about more about the process of securing legal status in the U.S. Contact us at (512) 474-4445.

 

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Immigration Reform Creates Changes for DACA

By Peek & Toland on December 11, 2014

One of the biggest immigration changes proposed by the White House in recent months is a change to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  DACA is one of the main ways in which undocumented individuals brought to the U.S. as children can defer deportation in order to work or go to school while staying with their families and communities in the United States.

In November, the President issued an executive order making several changes to immigration policies and procedures.  Included in the order were changes to DACA. Read the rest »

Posted in Deferred Action

Understanding Guidelines for Deferred Action in Immigration Cases

By Peek & Toland on February 20, 2014

On June 15, 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that certain people may request a deferral of an immigration removal action for up to two years, if they came to the U.S. as children (under the age 16) and meet other requirements. Known as “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” or DACA, this process gives many people who came to the U.S. as children the chance to continue working while they await a pathway to permanent residency in the United States.

A person may seek consideration of deferred action for childhood arrival if the person: Read the rest »

Posted in Deferred Action

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Initial Report in from USCIS

By Peek & Toland on November 19, 2012

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Department released a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival report as of November 15, 2012.  So far, USCIS has only approved 53,273 applications out of the 308,935 total applications received for an approval rate of 17.24%. The report indicates that USCIS has accepted 298,834 of the 308,935 total applications, only turning away 3.3% of applications initially.

The report indicates the top five national origins for applicants are Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Peru. The top five states from which applications were received include California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois.

To review the full report, click here.

Posted in Deferred Action

Mitt Romney says he will not deport immigrants who are granted Deferred Action

By Peek & Toland on October 2, 2012

Today Governor Mitt Romney announced that he will not deport young immigrants who are granted Deferred Action. On June 15, 2012 President Barack Obama announced a new immigrant enforcement policy known as Deferred Action, which allows certain young immigrants who meet specific criteria to stay in the U.S. for a two year period. Up until today, Governor Mitt Romney has been very vague as to whether he will honor President Obama’s Deferred Action plan for young immigrants. Mitt Romney’s announcement today provides reassurance to those Deferred Action eligible immigrants that if Mitt Romney is elected President, he will honor young immigrant’s Deferred Action status.

Governor Romney also announced that under his administration he planned to have his full immigration reform plan implemented before the two year protected period lapsed for current Deferred Action young immigrants. However, Governor Romney has not addressed what his immigration reform plan actually entails or what will occur if Congress fails to adopt it. For now, it should provide some young immigrants reassurance that Governor Romney has announced he will honor Deferred Action to those granted it if he is elected president.

Posted in Deferred Action

Governor Perry Needs to Read His Own State’s Policies – Deferred Action applicants are eligible for Texas Drivers Licenses

By Peek & Toland on August 22, 2012

A Message from Jeff Peek, Immigration Attorney and Partner at Peek & Toland:

“If Governor Perry spent more time reading his own State’s policies on license issuance, and less time on political grandstanding, he would understand that Texas already allows people with work authorizations and social security numbers to get Driver’s Licenses, which means so too will Deferred Action applicants.  That is unless he moves to change this policy which is already in place.  Texas also issues Driver’s Licenses to people in Temporary Protected Status (a status very similar to Deferred Action) and other classes of immigrants in removal proceedings and out on bond.

So don’t worry Deferred Action applicants, a Texas Driver’s license will be waiting for you once you have your work authorization permit.  Please ignore our Governor.”

Posted in Deferred Action

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is here! You can now apply for Deferred Action!

By Peek & Toland on August 15, 2012

Yesterday, August 14, 2012, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released the final application process for those individuals who may be eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). We have reviewed the application forms and instructions for applying for DACA. Below is a list of the requirements needed to apply for DACA.

Basic Requirements for DACA

An individual may be considered for deferred action for childhood arrivals if he or she:

  • Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  • Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  • Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  • Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  • Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Under the age of 31 years old and at least 15 years of age.

The DACA application and instructions state that anyone under the age of 31 year old may apply for DACA. Additionally, an applicant must be at least 15 years old at the time of filing, unless the individual is in removal, then he or she may apply for DACA at any age.

Continuously Resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007.

The DACA application instructions state that an applicant must report all absences from the U.S. since June 15, 2007. A brief absence from the U.S. after June 15, 2007 may not disqualify an applicant for DACA depending on the length, reason, and if the absence was “brief, casual, and innocent before June 15, 2012.” The DACA application instructions also include examples possible reasons for travel, including attending a wedding or funeral. From this language, it is apparent that absences due to removal orders or voluntary departure orders or for illegal purposes (i.e., trafficking drugs, trafficking immigrants, etc.) will not be accepted as “brief, casual and innocent” absences from the U.S.

Additionally, the DACA application and instructions do not require proof of absences before June 15, 2007 and do not ask an applicant to list absences prior to June 15, 2007. Thus, it appears that any absence outside of the U.S. and reentry before June 15, 2007 will not disqualify an applicant for DACA.

Presence on June 15, 2012.

The DACA application also indicates that an applicant must show that he or she is one of the following:

  • The applicant entered into the U.S. without inspection and was present in U.S. on June 15, 2012, or
  • The applicant had status that expired before June 15, 2012 and was present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012.

High School Diploma, GED or Certificate of Completion

To apply for DACA, an applicant must be either:

  • Attending high school,
  • Graduated from high school and have a diploma or certificate of completion,
  • Have obtained a GED.

An applicant must have obtained his or her GED, high school diploma or certificate of completion, or be current attending high school to apply. Those applicants who are preparing for the GED or who are in the process of taking the GED may not apply for DACA until they have completed their GED.

Significant Misdemeanors

A juvenile offense is a crime committed by a person under the age of 16 years in Texas. Based on a reading of the DACA application instructions, it appears juvenile offenses will not disqualify an applicant from the DACA application process because juvenile offenses in Texas do not result in convictions. However, if an applicant is convicted of a juvenile offense, the applicant will be required to submit documentation of the dispositions to apply for DACA.

Documents Needed to Prove Identity

The DACA application instructions include a list of documents to submit. The instructions state that an applicant may submit “any of the following”, meaning an applicant is not required to submit all the documents included on the list. Thus, an applicant is not required to submit a passport to apply for DACA.

Other important factors to note:

Deadline to File:

There is no deadline to file. We currently believe the application process is an open registration, meaning once an individual turns 15 years old, he or she can apply for DACA.

For Those in Advanced Parole:

Do NOT submit advanced parole until your deferred action application has been approved.

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If you are looking for more information on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, please see our website section on DACA. We will include up to date information on the DACA process as we receive it. If you are looking to meet with an attorney to discuss whether you are eligible for DACA, please call our office at 512-474-4445 or click here.

Posted in Deferred Action

Deferred Action Event at Mission Christiana Maranatha Church in Manchaca, Texas

By Peek & Toland on August 13, 2012

This past Saturday Peek & Toland hosted our last free Deferred Action event at Mission Christiana Maranatha Church in Manchaca, Texas. The event was a huge success with over seventy-five people attending! We were so excited to spread information about Deferred Action and answer questions we received. As you can see from the photos, there were people of all ages in attendance including young people, children and parents.

We would like to thank the Pastor Alberto Duran and his wife, Nardy Duran for allowing us to host the Free Information Event at their church. We would also like to thank Martin, the Audio-Video and IT specialist, at Mission Christiana Maranatha Church for creating a great video of the presentation and helping with all the technology involved. Thank you so much!

Jeff Speaking to the Crowd about Deferred Action

The Peek & Toland Banner Hanging on the Wall at the Event

Jeff pointing out the Requirements for Deferred Action

Jeff answering questions from the attendants of the Free Deferred Action Event

Posted in Deferred Action

Deferred Action Event: Mariscos Tampico Restaurant

By Peek & Toland on July 23, 2012

We had another super successful event at Mariscos Tampico Restaurant! We had over fifty-five people come out to attend the event where we not only handed out packets of valuable information on Deferred Action, but we also raffled prizes, including a Blu-Ray Player, Christopher Nolan’s first two Batman movies, and a $25 gift certificate to the movies!

The event was a lot of fun and a great success. Some of the members of the staff even stayed after the event for delicious seafood at Mariscos Tampico! What a fun place to enjoy karaoke, great seafood and learn about Deferred Action! Thank you again to Martin Farias and all the staff at Mariscos Tampico!

Jeff Peek and Diego Nuñez speaking at the Deferred Action Event

A long shot of Mariscos Tampico Restaurant, which has karaoke and excellent seafood!

Jeff Peek and Diego Nuñez taking questions from the audience at the Deferred Action Event

Jeff Peek talking on the Karaoke stage at Mariscos Tampico for the Deferred Action Event

Jessica Dobias, Claudia Tax-Rian, and Mayra Nuñez, Peek and Toland Staff attending the Deferred Action event

Posted in Deferred Action

Secretary Napolitano Announces Important Deferred Action Dates

By Peek & Toland on July 19, 2012

Today U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano announced two key dates for young DREAMers seeking protection under Deferred Action. Secretary Napolitano announced that on August 1st, more information would be released about deferred action and the application process. Secretary Napolitano also announced that the Department of Homeland Security would begin accepting application for deferred action on August 15th. This means, young immigrants may qualify for deferred action legal status for as early as August of this year.

To recap, on June 15, 2012 President Obama and Secretary Napolitano announced a new discretionary prosecutorial process for enforcing immigration law, known as deferred action. Those who apply and qualify for deferred action will be allowed two years legal status in the U.S. to work and live without fear of deportation.

To be eligible for the deferred action, the immigrant must show he or she:

  1. Came to the U.S. under the age of sixteen;
  2. Has continuously resided in the U.S. for at least five years preceding June 15, 2012 and is currently present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012;
  3. Is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate or honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  4. Has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and
  5. Is not above the age of thirty.

To read more about deferred action, please refer to our article on it here.

Posted in Deferred Action