Updated Guidelines Increase Projected Number of Individuals Qualifying for Deferred Action

As the implementation date looms closer, clarifications are being made about the classifications of individuals who will be eligible for consideration under deferred action.

Regarding the criterion that a person must be younger than 31 years old, the updated guidelines released earlier this month specify that the individual needed to be younger than 31 as of the June 15, 2012, announcement date.

Regarding the criterion that a person must have graduated from high school or received a GED, the updated guidelines indicate that an individual who is currently enrolled in high school or a GED program will also be eligible for consideration.

With these changes, immigration experts have begun to wonder how the numbers of qualified individuals would change.

“So with that additional guidance from the Department of Homeland Security, that means that our estimates have increased by 350,000 unauthorized immigrants,” said Michelle Mittelstadt, communications director for the Migration Policy Instutute.

The new estimate indicates that up to 1.26 million immigrants may be currently eligible to remain in the United States under the deferred action initiative, with as many as 500,000 more individuals becoming eligible in the future, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

The MPI report also indicates that roughly half of the individuals who could benefit from deferred action live in the southwestern area of the United States.

Many prospective applicants were also wondering what will happen if their request for consideration for deferred action was denied. The new DHS guidelines specify that information will remain confidential in most cases.

USCIS will not use the information contained in the request for Immigration Enforcement purposes unless the individual has been convicted of a criminal offense, has engaged in fraud in this process, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety,” said Alejandro Mayorkas, director of USCIS.