DACA (“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”)
On June 15, 2012, President Obama signed a memo calling for deferred action for certain undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children and have pursued education or military service here. Applications under the program which is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) began on August 15, 2012. We provide all application and other services related to DACA, and our clients need not be in removal proceedings in order for us to do so.
What does “deferred action” mean?
Deferred action is a discretionary grant of relief by Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”). It can be granted to individuals who are in removal proceedings, who have final orders of removal, or who have never been in removal proceedings. Individuals who have deferred action status can apply for employment authorization and are in the U.S. under color of law. However, there is no direct path from deferred action to lawful permanent residence or to citizenship and it can be revoked at any time.
Who is eligible for DACA relief?
Individuals who meet the following criteria can apply for deferred action for childhood arrivals:
- are under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012;
- came to the U.S. while under the age of 16;
- have continuously resided in the U.S. from June 15, 2007 to the present. (For purposes of calculating this five year period, brief and innocent absences from the United States for humanitarian reasons will not be included);
- entered the U.S. without inspection before June 15, 2012, or individuals whose lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making the request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or armed forces;
- have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor, or more than three misdemeanors and do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Applicants will have to provide documentary evidence of the above criteria. In addition, every applicant must complete and pass a biographic and biometric background check. Finally, just because an applicant is granted DACA, they must be aware that all work permits must be renewed every two years.