Deferred Action Program Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
On June 15, 2012, the Obama Administration announced that it would immediately begin implementing a new policy that would grant deferred action status to certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.
In order to qualify for this new deferred action program, eligible applicants must submit “verifiable documentation” that they:
Came to the United States before their 16th birthday;
Have continuously resided in the United States for a least 5 years before June 15, 2012 (ie. since June 15, 2007) and were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a “significant” misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security orpublic safety;
Are not more than 30 years old.
Unfortunately, this is NOT AN AMNESTY and elgible applicants will not be granted any substantive immigration right, immigration status, or pathway to citizenship. However, it is welcome news for hundreds of thousands of eligible young immigrants who have been unable work work, go to school, or pursue their careers because they were out of status or had no legal status to begin with because they were brought here illegally.
In addition to deferring removal proceedings, a major benefit of this program will be to grant eligible applicants work authorization, which, may also give them the ability to apply for or renew drivers licenses and apply for social security numbers. This is a game changer for young immigrants who have been denied these all important benefits for many years, as it allows them the ability to legally pursue their dreams and careers without fear of detention or removal by immigration authorities.
While this policy takes effect immediately, USCIS and ICE expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days. We expect that this will include additional guidance on how applicants can satisfy the eligibility requirements, as well as which forms will be required and government filing fees.
If you have any questions, contact South Florida Immigration Lawyer Sean D. Hummel at (954) 385-3111.