On August 18, 2011, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that, together with the U.S. Department of Justice, DHS is creating an interagency working group to review all pending deportation cases to ensure that persons facing deportation are among DHS’s highest priorities for removal.
This group will conduct a case-by-case review of all individuals currently in deportation proceedings. DHS indicated that individuals determined to be low priorities will have their cases administratively closed and will be eligible to apply for work permits with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
There will be no categorical relief for any class or group of individuals (e.g., DREAM-eligible students, military veterans and domestic violence victims). Each individual must still go through the review process to determine if he/she is a low enforcement priority.
Those with administratively closed cases will not face immediate deportation, but will still be considered to be in removal proceedings in the eyes of the law. Moreover, there is no guarantee that eligible individuals will be granted a work permit.
Know Your Rights
There has been much confusion about what this new policy means. We urge you to educate yourself.
Asian American Legal Center states the new policy does not grant legal status and you should not:
• Believe anyone who tells you they can sign you up for a work permit (Employment Authorization Document or “EAD”) or get you legal status.
• Turn yourself in to immigration authorities. There is no guarantee that your case will be considered “low priority.” Any person who comes into contact with immigration authorities may be arrested, detained or even removed.
The new policy is preliminary and you should:
• Consult a qualified immigration lawyer, who can evaluate your case and inform you about your rights.
• Refer to this consumer advisory for more information on what this announcement means and how you should proceed. Eventually, as the government decides how to proceed, more information should be available from official government websites, such as USCIS.gov and USICE.gov.
Please alert other members of your community so that they do not unknowingly find themselves in a scam or in deportation proceedings.