Immigration Update: Who Is Eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program?
Article from Ezinearticles.com – August 2012
–By Brandon Gillin
You may have heard about the Obama administration’s “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors” (or the “DREAM” Act); well, this isn’t it exactly, but it is related. As of yet, Congress has not passed a DREAM Act.
Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) is an attempt by the Obama administration to give Congress time to pass a DREAM Act.
The purpose of DACA is to grant certain relief to a specific group of individuals who reside in the United States but do not have work authorization or who may be facing removal proceedings (deportation) from the United States. DACA grants relief from removal proceedings to those who otherwise may be subject to removal proceedings by virtue of their undocumented childhood entry into the United States. DACA may also grant temporary work authorization to qualifying individuals. But the relief granted by DACA is not permanent. In its current form, any relief granted by DACA will only last two years. If a petition under DACA is approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), any relief granted will expire in two years, all other things being equal, unless renewed.
According to USCIS, there are certain requirements that must be met in order to be considered for DACA. An individual may request DACA consideration if the individual:
- Was under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching his/her 16th birthday;
- Has continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Was physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making his/her request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or his/her lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- Is currently in school, has graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, has obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Has not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
USCIS began accepting applications for DACA on August 15, 2012. Immigration resources have recently indicated that some DACA applications have already been approved.
Certain risks may be involved with filing a petition under DACA. Giving certain information to USCIS about an undocumented individual may subject that individual to prejudice in future dealings with the Department of Homeland Security. Although not entirely known at this time in the immigration law arena, it is widely speculated that such prejudice, if any, may be mitigated greatly by the prudent and careful filing of a DACA petition.
In any event, DACA is now one of the most widely talked about topics in immigration law. Whether it materializes into something more is yet to be seen; and if that happens it will be one of the most important immigration laws of the century.