Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)


What is Deferred Action?


The DACA program provides temporary relief to immigrants brought to the U.S. as children if they meet certain criteria. DACA is an administrative remedy implemented in the aftermath of Congressional failures in passing the DREAM Act. The executive measure is a mechanism by which “childhood arrivals” can stay and work here legally without the fear of deportation.


What does Deferred Action Allow?


Individuals granted DACA may to stay in the U.S. without fear of removal for a limited time, and can also work legally during that time. In certain situations, a DACA grant might give the ability to travel abroad and return. 


What are the eligibility requirements?


The eligibility requirements are:


• under age 16 at time of entry into the U.S.;

• under age 31 on June 15, 2012;

• continuously resident in the U.S. for at least five years before June 15, 2012 (that is, since June 15, 2007);

• physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making the request for consideration of deferred action;

• not in lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012;

• not convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and not otherwise a threat to national security or public safety; and

• in school, graduated from high school or obtained general education development certificate, or honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces or the Coast Guard.


When does the filing period for initial DACA requests expire?


There is no deadline for making initial requests for consideration of DACA. To be eligible, however, an individual must meet the threshold criteria enumerated above.


How to Apply for Deferred Action?


The procedure depends on whether the applicant a) has never been encountered by immigration atuhorities, b) is already in removal/deportation proceedings, or c) has already been ordered deported by an immigration Court. For example, departures from the U.S. might have broken continuous residency and certain crimes might disqualify an applicant.


It is important to note that DACA is not a permanent solution; it does not culminate in permanent residency or citizenship. DACA is not based on any law, but rather an administrative “temporary fix” which can be withdrawn at any time.


If you believe that you or someone you know qualifies for DACA, schedule a consultation to have the case thoroughly evaluated. A mistake in evaluating the eligibility or preparing the case may expose the applicant to removal proceedings. 


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