Begun by then-President Obama in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or “DACA”, Provides Relief from Removal for Certain Undocumented Individuals Who Were Brought to the United States as Children
In order to qualify for DACA, a person must:
- Have arrived in the United States before they turned 16 years old.
- Have been under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012.
- Have lived in the United States continuously since at least June 15, 2007.
- Have been physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012 (the day the bill was signed).
- Not have had legal status on June 15, 2012 or at the time of applying for DACA.
- Either be currently enrolled in school, have a high school diploma, have a GED, or have an honorable discharge from the military.
- Not be previously convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors.
- Not otherwise pose a threat to public safety or national security.
Individuals who meet the above criteria can submit their application for DACA with USCIS and, if granted, will receive temporary deferred action of their removal from the country. This means that as long as the applicant continues to apply for and is granted deferred action, their removal from the country will not occur. DACA recipients are granted permission to work in the United States and can also apply for a temporary “advance parole” document in order to leave and return to the U.S.
The DACA application must be accompanied by several supporting documents, including, most significantly, proof of one’s continuous physical presence in the United States since at least June 15, 2007.
Sufficient proof of physical presence in the U.S. can often be difficult to obtain, particularly in cases where the applicant entered the U.S. as a small child and there is little documentary proof of their presence in the country. In addition to the proof of physical presence, the applicant must submit a filing fee, provide proof of their identity and education and is required to undergo background checks.
Although you are not required to have legal representation when filing for DACA, the immigration attorneys at Dworken & Bernstein can offer assistance and guidance through the process, especially if you have a complicated case, a criminal record, if you are facing deportation, or if you are having difficulty proving your eligibility. Competent and experienced help with DACA, like all immigration matters, is just a phone call away.