What Is DACA?
President Obama launched the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in June 2012. Under DACA, young, undocumented immigrants are granted deportation protection as well as a work permit. While it does not give them official legal status or a pathway to citizenship DACA allows them to be “lawfully present” in the United States for two years. DACA recipients have the option to apply for renewal of their deferred action and, if desired, should do so at least four or five months prior to the expiration of the two years. In addition to administrative relief from deportation for two years and the opportunity to gain work authorization, DACA recipients may be eligible to obtain a driver’s license as well as in-state tuition depending on the laws of the state.
Who is eligible for DACA?
To qualify for DACA benefits, there are very specific requirements that must be met. These requirements include:
- Under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
- At least the age of 15 when applying (unless currently in deportation proceedings, but have not yet been detained)
- Arrived in the U.S. prior to reaching 16 years of age
- Currently living in the U.S.
- Continuously lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
- Currently in high school, graduated from high school, earned a high school completion certification or a GED, completed technical or trade school, or have been honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces or Coast Guard
- You have not been convicted of a felony, certain misdemeanors such as a DUI, or you have not been convicted of three or more misdemeanors
- You have not been deemed a threat to national security or public safety.
How do you apply for DACA?
You are no longer able to apply for DACA, but you may apply for a renewal. In the past, however, if you met the above qualifications, you would be eligible to apply for DACA. To do so, you had to submit a series of forms to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You also needed to present documentation supporting the fact that you meet the requirements of the program. Additionally, there was a $495 application fee. Of this fee, $410 covered the employment authorization application. Those seeking work authorization must demonstrate to USCIS that they have “an economic need” to work. The remaining $85 of the application fee goes towards biometric services such as fingerprinting. Fingerprinting is required by USCIS.
Counsel for those Seeking Deportation Relief
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is just one option for deportation relief for those qualifying individuals. If you are in the midst of deportation proceedings or live in fear of deportation, Talamantes Immigration Law Firm, APC is here to go over your options. Speaking to an experienced immigration attorney can provide you and your family peace of mind when you are living in a world of unknowns. Contact us today with any questions you may have. We are here to help.
Posted in: Immigration Law