What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, is a form of administrative relief from deportation for certain undocumented individuals who came to the U.S. as children, and who meet several key guidelines set forth by the Department of Homeland Security. (See below to see what these guidelines are). Please note that Deferred Action is a temporary solution, it does not provide a path to permanent residency or U.S citizenship, nor does it grant any family member or spouse the same benefits as it does to the individual applying.
So, what does Deferred Action grant?
Although Deferred Action does not provide a path to permanent residency, it does provide many benefits to the applicant that should not be taken for granted including…
- Permission to stay in the U.S for 2 years (subject to renewal)
- Employment Authorization (Work Permit)
- In certain states, a Driver’s License (CA being one of them)
- Permission to apply for a Social Security Number
Do I qualify for Deferred Action?
If you can answer yes to the following questions, chances are you may qualify for Deferred Action
- Were you born after June 16, 1981?
- Are you at least 15 years old?*
- Did you come to the US before your 16th birthday?
- Have you continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007 up to the present time?
- Were you physically present in the US on June 15, 2012 and every day since then?
- Did you enter the US undocumented? Or if you entered lawfully, did your immigration status expire as of June 15, 2012?
- Are you currently in school, graduated from school and received your high school diploma or its equivalent (certificate of attendance, certificate of completion, or alternate award), obtained your GED certificate or are in the process of obtaining it, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the US?
- You have never 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? (Please see below for more information)
*If you are currently in removal proceedings or have a final removal or voluntary departure order, you may apply for DACA even if you have not turned 15 yet.
I didn’t obtain my high school diploma or GED, does that disqualify me from Deferred Action?
If at the time you send in your application, you are enrolled in an accredited state school or program that will help you obtain your high school diploma or its equivalent (a certificate of attendance, a certificate of completion or alternate award) or your GED, you may still apply as this will mean you are “currently in school.”
I was arrested once, does that disqualify me from Deferred Action?
If you have been arrested and are not sure whether your conviction disqualifies you from DACA, we highly suggest that you contact a lawyer. Having been arrested once does not immediately disqualify you from DACA, unless you were convicted for one of the following,
– A felony– A felony is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year. In other words, you were sentenced to time in jail for more than a year.
– A significant misdemeanor– A significant misdemeanor is an offense involving…
- Domestic violence
- Sexual abuse or exploitation
- Unlawful possession or use of a firearm
- Drug distribution or trafficking
- Driving under the influence
- An offence for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of more than 90 days.
– Three or more other misdemeanors
What do I need to apply for Deferred Action?
You will need to submit evidence that demonstrates that you meet all the requirements listed above, a total fee of $465.00 made out to the Department of Homeland Security, and the following 3 forms,
– I-765WS, Worksheet.
Will I run the risk of being deported if I apply for Deferred Action?
Many individuals are afraid to apply for Deferred Action because they do not want ICE or Border Patrol to have any of their information. Their fear is that if they are denied Deferred Action, they and/or their family members will run the risk of being deported. What we must understand here is that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and ICE along with Customs and Border Protection, serve two distinct purposes. USCIS, which is the department where all Deferred Action applications will be reviewed states that USCIS will not refer cases to ICE or Customs and Border Protection for purposes of immigration enforcement UNLESS that case involves fraud, a serious criminal offense, a threat to public safety or national security, or other exceptional circumstances.
Please Note, this article contains general information about Deferred Action and is not legal advice as every case is different.
If you would like to review your case or need help with your application, please call us at Dowe Law Firm at (510) 233-7700 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation. Deferred Action is an opportunity that you do not want to let pass by and we are here to help.