What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?
On June 15, 2012, the U.S. government announced that certain people who came to the United States at a young age and meet certain criteria may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a form of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time.
The candidates for Deferred Action under this program are sometimes referred to as “DREAMers” named after the proposed Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minor (DREAM) Act that has been pending in Congress for many years but never passed by both the House and the Senate. At Valverde Law we believe in the DREAM and in DREAMERS and support Congressional initiatives that provide a permanent status for Dreamers and those eligible for DACA.
In September 2017, we were dismayed when the Trump administration moved to cancel DACA. However, fortunately after a series of federal court decisions, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services continues to accept applications of renewal of DACA only.
Who can apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?
Due to federal court decisions, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is accepting applications from those who are renewing their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. This includes those who may have let their DACA status lapse or expire. More recently the Supreme Court found the Trump's administration's cancellation of DACA unlawful and a federal court has ordered USCIS to accept new DACA filings not just renewal applications.
To qualify for DACA initially, according to USCIS applicants must have met the following criteria:
• Came to the United States before reaching their 16th birthday;
• At least 15 years old at the time of application, unless subject to removal proceedings, a removal order, or an order of voluntary departure;
• Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
• Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making the request for deferred action;
• Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or their lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
• Were in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or were an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
• Have not 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.
Can I travel outside the U.S. with DACA?
At this time, U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) is not issuing advance parole documents or travel permits to DACA recipients. However, under the Supreme Court's decision and federal court's order it should open the way for advance parole applications. Those with DACA should not leave the U.S. unless they have an approved advance parole and after consultation with an immigration attorney
Can I get a green card with DACA?
DACA in and of itself does not provide a person with a way to obtain a green card. However, there may be other ways under the law to obtain a green card for someone with DACA. For example, if you are the immediate relative spouse or child of U.S. citizen or lawful permanent residence you may be able to obtain a green card. To determine, if this is possible in your case, you should contact an immigration lawyer for a consultation.