USCIS now accepting application for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
On Friday, June 15th, the Obama Administration announced that the Department of Homeland Security should defer legal action against individuals that meet specific requirements. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program covers certain elements of the more commonly known DREAM Act. On August 15, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applications for DACA benefits. USCIS has indicated that the processing time for DACA applications could be at least several months.
Who Qualifies for DACA?
The requirements include that applicants:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- 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 your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are 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.
It is anticipated that this action will affect over 800,000 individuals.
What Else Should I Know About Deferred Action?
Deferred Action is not permanent residence or U.S. citizenship, but rather a means by which eligible individuals may apply for employment authorization. Since U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is now accepting applications, Foster attorneys are filing applications for eligible individuals.
Beware of Scams!
It is recommended that individuals be wary of fraudulent legal advisors (known as “notarios”) when applying for deferred action. Notarios have no formal legal education or law license, they are not lawyers, and they cannot legally practice law or represent you. An immigrant’s case can be delayed by notarios acting in bad faith, resulting in penalties and even deportation.
» National Immigrant Youth Association (NIYA) – Important Warning for People Interested in Applying for the Deferred Action Program
» AILA – Consumer Advisory: Don’t Get Scammed! (English)
» AILA – Alerta al Consumar: ¡No se deje Engañar! (Spanish)
How Should I Prepare?
In order to minimize any unnecessary denials or delays, prepare as many identifying documents as possible. For example:
For more information about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) or to consult with Foster attorneys about your eligibility, please call 844-30-DREAM or email firstname.lastname@example.org.