Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”)
What is it?
DACA is a form of administrative relief from removal. The government will exercise its prosecutorial discretion to Defer Action, i.e., not seek your deportation for a two (2) year period of time.
Am I eligible?
To be eligible to apply for DACA, you must meet the following qualifications:
- You must have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- You must have come to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- You must have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- You must have been physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- You must have been without lawful status on June 15, 2012, meaning that either:
- You never had a lawful immigration status on or before June 15, 2012, or
- Any lawful immigration status or parole that you obtained prior to June 15, 2012, had expired as of June 15, 2012;
- You must either currently be in school, or have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, or have obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- You must not have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
***A single DUI is considered to be a significant misdemeanor***
What it is not:
DACA does not grant a path to permanent residency or citizenship.
How long is it good for?
DACA will be granted for a period of two years. Renewal requests will be granted for a period of two years. Applicants whose DACA requests are approved may apply for employment authorization. Of course, because DACA is a product of executive action by President Obama, the longterm future of the program is uncertain.
Know before you go!
DACA recipients can apply for permission to travel called “Advance Parole. ” This is an application filed with the USCIS to allow an immigrant to travel outside the United States and return lawfully. Do not travel without it! The application must be approved before your travel. For undocumented youth, advance parole gives them the ability to travel abroad and return, whether to study or work abroad and/or visit elderly or sick relatives that they may have been separated from for many years. However, it is not a guarantee of being re-admitted. DHS can revoke an advance parole document at any time, especially if the traveler has previous serious immigration issues like a prior removal order. The approved reasons and time for travel are limited to humanitarian, educational and/or employment grounds.