The DACA policy, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, offers opportunities for immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children. While the policy does not give a recipient legal immigration status, it does defer removal proceedings and enables recipients to apply for work permits, social security numbers, and driver’s licenses.
Because DACA is a policy rather than a statute, it is easier for different presidential administrations to make changes to the policy’s implementation. Moreover, courts have issued seemingly conflicting opinions on the validity of DACA provisions. The bottom line at present is that while DACA still offers opportunities for some without legal immigration status, it can be difficult to understand what is available. At the law office of Luis F. Hess, PLLC, we strive to help immigrants take advantage of all possible avenues to pursue their dreams, and for some, that includes DACA relief.
Requirements for DACA Eligibility
The most important requirements to qualify to receive DACA include:
- Living in the U.S. continuously since June 15, 2007
- Entered the U.S. illegally while under age 16
- Under age 31 on June 15, 2012
- Present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time of requesting DACA
- No lawful status on June 15, 2012
- Not convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor (or 3 non-serious misdemeanors)
- Not a threat to national security
- Must be enrolled in school, graduated high school, have a GED, or honorably discharged from armed forces
Applicants will need to prove that they meet each of the requirements. For instance, to prove that they came to the U.S. before age 16, they might show a passport with a stamp, school records, or travel records.
Renewal of DACA
DACA status and employment authorization lasts for two years in most cases, although most recipients are eligible to seek renewal of their status. Recipients are advised to submit a renewal request approximately four to five months before their current status expires. To renew, an applicant must have lived continuously in the U.S. since their most recent successful DACA request and they cannot have left the U.S. without a valid travel document (since August 15, 2012). DACA renewal will not be granted if the applicant has been convicted of a felony, serious misdemeanor, or three misdemeanors of another type.
Under the most recent judicial ruling and USCIS policies, applicants are still able to file renewal requests and the agency is still permitted to grant renewals. While the agency is also accepting new DACA requests, USCIS is not permitted to grant those new DACA requests.
Applicants must take care to file all required forms, fees, and documentation of changes such as legal name change. In addition, it is important to respond to any Requests for Evidence in a timely fashion to avoid delays or denials of DACA renewals.
Find Out How a Dedicated Immigration Attorney Could Help You Obtain Work Authorization or Removal Relief
If you qualify for DACA but are waiting on approval of an initial request, or if you are uncertain how to handle a renewal or respond to a Request for Evidence, it is wise to consult an experienced immigration attorney for assistance. The earlier you begin working on immigration issues, the more options you have for achieving your goals. To talk to a knowledgeable DACA lawyer in the law office of Luis F. Hess, PLLC and find out how we could help, call us now.