The Trump Administration ordered an end to the DACA program in September 2017; however, federal courts issued injunctions on that order, and as of January 2018, USCIS resumed processing DACA renewal applications.
DACA renewal applications will continue to be accepted and processed at least until the Supreme Court rules on the Trump Administration’s plans to end DACA, expected by June 2020. Please see our breaking news alert for details.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
In June 2012, the Obama Administration signed a memorandum that directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to exercise prosecutorial discretion in considering the grant of deferred action to certain individuals who came to the United States as children and meet other guidelines. Individuals eligible for relief under this initiative, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), are granted deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal and may be eligible for employment authorization. It is very important to understand that the approval of the application for deferred action does not provide an individual with lawful immigration status.
In addition to employment authorization, the DACA recipient is eligible for a social security number and a state driver’s license. A DACA recipient may also apply for permission to travel out of the U.S., with the issuance of an Advance Parole Travel Document, but we strongly caution first consulting with an experienced immigration lawyer before filing for Advance Parole.
To be eligible for relief under DACA, you will need to demonstrate you meet all of the following criteria:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Are at least 15 years of age, unless you are currently in removal proceedings or have a final removal or voluntary departure order
- 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.
The attorneys at Landau, Hess, Simon, Choi & Doebley have assessed the eligibility of and assisted numerous DACA applicants. We welcome the opportunity to meet with prospective DACA applicants to ensure eligibility and to advise the applicant on any unintentional risks of applying, especially if the applicant has a criminal record.