The recent announcement that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting completed forms to allow individuals to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals is an exciting time for many young people across the nation.
However, applying for deferred action is not without risk. There are several factors to consider. First, the political risk. What if President Obama is not re-elected? Could deferred action be reversed? Applying for deferred action requires you to reveal a lot of personal information about yourself and your family. Although U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas says that the information in applications will be confidential and will not be used to round up other undocumented people, you should give careful consideration to the fact that you could be exposing your family to the risk of deportation by providing this information.
Now fast-forward to Election Day on November 6th. What if President Obama is not reelected? Mitt Romney has been floundering for a position on the issue. During a speech in Iowa in December, he flatly promised to veto the DREAM act. However, in April, he expressed support saying that Republicans needed to propose a GOP version of the bill to garner support of Hispanic voters. However, that version supposedly being drafted by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) has yet to materialize even after President Obama’s announcement in June. The point is that the DREAM act is an executive order, not law, and if Mitt Romney wins the presidential election, he will have the power to revoke it.
The second risk is that the policy is a “temporary” measure. The President issued what he called a "stopgap" measure directing the Department of Homeland Security to halt the deportation of undocumented immigrants under the age of 30 who were brought to the U.S. as children. This order effectively decriminalized the status of individuals who would have qualified for permanent residency under the DREAM Act, and is valid only for two years. So, if President Obama is re-elected in November, Dreamers do not have immunity or a shortcut to citizenship and must assume they will be renewed, but will not know until further guidance is provided.