Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
What is DACA?
On June 15, 2012 the Department of Homeland Security created DACA. DACA is a type of administrative relief from deportation. It was created to provide undocumented immigrants under the age of sixteen with a temporary protection for two years from deportation, work authorization, and the ability to apply for a social security number. The program allowed for infinite renewals but was created as a stopgap measure until immigration reform could assessed by Congress.
Who Is Eligible for DACA?
To establish eligibility for Initial DACA, individuals must demonstrate that they:
- Were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012;
- Arrived in the United States before turning 16;
- Continuously resided in the United States from June 15, 2007, to the present;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, as well as at the time of requesting deferred action from USCIS;
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or any lawful immigration status expired on or before June 15, 2012;
- On the date of the request, are in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces;
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors occurring on different dates and arising out of different acts, omissions, or schemes of misconduct, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
How Does Someone Apply for DACA?
The USCIS is still accepting requests to a renew a grant of deferred action under DACA; however, initial DACA applications are not currently being accepted by USCIS. Individuals who currently have DACA, have previously had it but it has expired, or who had it terminated are still eligible for DACA renewal.
When to Apply for DACA Renewal?
An application for renewal of DACA must be submitted at least 150 days before the work permit and DACA status expire. USCIS is currently accepting applications more than 150 days prior to expiration dates, so an applicant may submit their renewal application earlier, if preferred.
What is the Process for Submitting a DACA Renewal Application?
First and foremost, it is important to consult with an immigration lawyer to determine your eligibility to renew under DACA. If your immigration attorney believes that you are eligible to renew, the follow steps must be followed:
- Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals must be completed. For applicants who are seeking to renew DACA, only the sections for renewal applicants must be completed.
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization must be completed to renew the work permit.
- Applications must be submitted, along with any fees and supporting documentation, to the Department of Homeland Security;
- An appointment for biometrics will be scheduled upon receipt of the renewal application;
- After the appointment, a final decision will be made for the renewal request.
What is the Future of DACA?
As of now, the future of the DACA program is very unclear. Because of this, it is very important for potential applicants to understand that:
- If they currently have DACA and their DACA status is set to expire within 150 days, they should apply for a renewal.
- If their DACA is set to expire within 151 to 365 days, they should apply to renew.
- If their DACA is set to expire in more than a year then they can consider renewing.
- If they had DACA previously but it expired or was terminated, they should consider applying.
- If they never had DACA in the past, they are not eligible to apply at this time.
If you or someone you know has questions about DACA, it is important to consult with an immigration lawyer. An immigration attorney will be able to tailor the most effective legal strategy for your needs. To arrange an initial consultation, please contact Gilles Law, PLLC at our office in Uptown Charlotte 980-272-8438.
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