DACA

DACA BASICS

In 2012, the government announced a new program that can help some people who are here without legal status receive work authorization and limited protection from deportation.  It’s called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or “DACA.”

If you are thinking about applying for DACA, we have some important information and tips we would like to share with you.  Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation about DACA and we hope to help you better understand your options.

DACA gives you permission to work in the United States.  It also gives you what is called “deferred action.”  Deferred action is a fancy term that means that the government will choose not to deport a person who is in the United States without any lawful immigration status.  DACA is discretionary, which means that immigration officers do not have to approve every DACA case.  DACA is currently granted for 2 years, and is renewable at the end of those 2 years.

DACA REQUIREMENTS:

(Currently Initial DACA Applications are Paused)

First: you must be 15 or older to qualify for DACA.

Second: You must have come to the United States before you turned 16 years old.

Third: You must have been under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012.

Fourth: You must have had no lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012.

Fifth: You must be physically present in the United States when you submit your DACA, and you must have been physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012.

Sixth: You must be physically present in the United States from June 15, 2007 through the current date

Seventh: You must currently be in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.

Finally:  You must not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Here’s how the process worked prior to September 2017.

GATHER ALL DOCUMENTATION

  • You will be required to prove that you meet all of the qualifications. This means that you must gather documents to show that you have lived in the United States since June 2007, that you have graduated high school or are currently enrolled, and that you entered the United States before you turned 16.
  • Common examples to show physical presence include vaccination records, school records, medical records, bills, bank statements, and receipts.
  • File your Application
    • Once you have gathered all of the necessary documents, you are able to apply for your DACA.
    • Cost: $465)
    • Processing time: 6 months – 1 year

THERE ARE CERTAIN SITUATIONS THAT MAY MAKE YOU INELIGIBLE DACA.  DON’T FILE FOR DACA IF:

  • You have used fake documents to enter the United States
  • You have sold, smuggled, or trafficked drugs
  • You helped anyone else enter the United States illegally
  • You have told someone before that you are a U.S. citizen
  • You have been convicted of any felony offense
  • You have been convicted of any crime involving domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; even if it was a misdemeanor
  • You have left the United States without permission on or after June 15, 2012
  • You did not enter the United States before you turned 16

DACA: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Who Is Eligible For DACA?

  • You were under 16 years old when you came to the U.S.
  • You were under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012
  • You have continuously resided in the U.S. from June 15, 2007, to the present
  • You entered the U.S. without inspection before June 15, 2012, or, if you had legal immigration status, it had expired as of June 15, 2012
  • You were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 (you must also be physically present in the U.S. when you apply for DACA)
  • You are currently in school, have graduated from high school, obtained your GED, or have been honorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces or Coast Guard
  • You have not been convicted of a felony, a serious misdemeanor, or more than three misdemeanors
  • You do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Immigration Lawyers

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a type of immigration relief available to young people who came to the United States as children and who meet certain requirements. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting DACA applications on August 15, 2012. DACA is available to those who are in removal proceedings or have received final removal orders, as well as those who have never been in removal proceedings. If you are considering applying for DACA relief, the immigration lawyers of the Reim Law Group can help.

DACA Dangers

DACA offers temporary relief in lieu of anticipated immigration reform. It is a step in the right direction, but it is not without its pitfalls and risks.

We strongly urge you to consult with an immigration lawyer before applying because you will be exposing yourself if you are here illegally and if you do not meet DACA criteria you could wind up in removal proceedings. You also need to be aware that DACA status is discretionary and can be revoked at any time.

The immigration lawyers of the Reim Law Group can help you understand what DACA can and cannot do for you, and if applying is the right course of action in your unique circumstances.

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