USCIS Implements Risk-Based Approach for Conditional Permanent Resident Interviews

Immigration reform is a very hot topic these days, and Washington is focused on finding a solution to the problems posed by the impending repeal of the DACA program.  On September 25, three senators (Thom Tillis from North Carolina, James Lankford from Oklahoma, and Orrin Hatch from Utah) introduced a bill called the Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers, Employment, Education and Defending our Nation Act, or the Succeed Act.  The Succeed Act is intended to create a path to citizenship for “Dreamers,” or undocumented immigrants who were brought to America as children.  If you think this law may affect you, talk with a family-based immigration lawyer today.

How Does the Succeed Act Work?

The Succeed Act establishes a set of requirements for Dreamers to meet, and immigrants who meet those requirements will be given “conditional permanent resident” status.  That means as long as the person continues to meet the requirements, they will be considered a legal resident of the United States.  The first period of conditional permanent resident status will last for 5 years, after which the resident can apply for a 5-year extension of their residency.  After successfully completing 10 years in the Succeed program, residents would be eligible to apply to become a “lawful permanent resident,” or green card holder.  Like other green card holders, they would eventually be eligible to become citizens.

Below are some of the key points of the Succeed Act, and what they might mean for families.

  • Eligibility Limited to Children Who Arrived Before Turning 16 and Before June 15, 2012
    Eligibility to participate in the Succeed Act would be limited to youth who arrived before June 15, 2012, and who were younger than 16 years old when they arrived; they must also have been younger than 31 years old on June 15, 2012.  Additionally, the youth must have resided in the United States continuously since that time.
  • Initial Requirement for Education and/or Service
    Children who qualify for the proposed Succeed Act would only be eligible for the initial 5-year conditional residency if they are attending school or are serving in the military.  Children younger than 18 years old would be required to be attending elementary school, high school, or some form of college or trade school.  Youth who turn 18 must have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent (such as a GED), and have the option of attending school or enlisting in the armed forces.
  • Extension Requirement for Education, Work, and/or Service
    Much like the initial 5-year period of eligibility, to qualify for the 5-year extension of conditional resident status Dreamers would need to have attended 8 semesters or graduated from college, served in the military for at least three years, been employed for at least 48 months, or some combination of the three.
  • Taxes and Background Check
    Eligibility to participate in the Succeed Act will be limited to young people who have no serious criminal records.  Young men will be required to be registered with the Selective Service, and everyone will be required to pay any applicable taxes to the IRS.
  • Waiver of Due Process Rights
    Finally, in order to participate in the Succeed Act, young people will be required to sign an agreement giving up many of their rights in the event that they fail to meet one of the Act’s requirements.  They will be giving up legal options that might be available to them, and instead will move directly to deportation proceedings.

Implications for Families

As proposed, the Succeed Act could present challenges for many families.  One of the most notable features of the Succeed Act is the length of time required to take advantage of its path to citizenship—approximately 15 years (10 in the Succeed Program, followed by about 5 as a green card holder to become a citizen), which is far longer than other proposals.  Additionally, the eligibility requirements exclude many Dreamers and other immigrants, such as any children who were brought to the United States before 1982 (they would have been 31 years old on June 15, 2012).  Children with learning disabilities or other educational challenges could be precluded from participation if they are unable to earn a high school diploma.  Anyone who has been convicted of Driving Under the Influence is prohibited from participating in the Succeed Act, and everyone who does participate is required to forfeit his or her rights to have a court review the case.

As Congress and the President work to come up with a workable solution to America’s immigration dilemma, proposals such as the Succeed Act will inevitably be proposed and modified continuously.  If you have questions regarding immigration issues and would like to speak with an attorney, contact our office today to talk with an immigration attorney at NPZ Law Group.