What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?
DACA was created in June 2012 by the Obama administration. It was a remedy for young immigrants who and entered the United States without legal status. The acronym DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The goal behind DACA is to allow children who meet certain requirements to apply for two years’ of protection from removal (deportation) along with a work permit. President Obama put the program into effect in early 2015 and also eliminated the age limit and extended the original protection period from two years to three.
While DACA does offer protection, it is not concrete. Meaning that DACA does not grant applicants amnesty, a green card, or U.S. citizenship, rather it means that immigration authorities should use discretion and decline to deport an otherwise removable person who meets the criteria.
Who qualifies for DACA?
In order to qualify for DACA, you must meet the following requirements:
- You cannot have been 16 years of age or older upon coming to the United States to live;
- You must have resided in the United States continuously since June 15, 2010 up until the date you applied (note, you can exclude any brief, innocent, or casual departures;
- You were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and when you filed for deferred action;
- You must have entered the U.S. without inspection before June 15, 2012. However, if you entered with inspection, your lawful immigration status (ie a visa or Temporary Protected Status) had expired as of June 15, 2012.
- You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors;
- You are either in school now or have graduated or earned a certificate of completion from an accredited 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
- You do not present any sort of threat to U.S. national security or public safety (such as being a member of a gang).
When you apply for DACA, you will be prompted to supply documentary evidence to support each of the above listed items.
What Documents are needed to file for DACA?
When filing for DACA, there are three mandatory forms that must be submitted and two that may need to be submitted based on your situation. The following are forms that pertain to DACA:
- I-821D- Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,
- I-765- Application for Employment Authorization,
- G-1145- E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance (this is an optional form; however, if the applicant decides to submits this form, they need to make sure that have attached it to the front of the I-821D), and
- G-28- This is a form that says that an accredited attorney is representing you. If you are representing yourself, you will not need this form.
Furthermore, evidence of residing in the US for the validity period and continuity of residence for the relevant period must be proven with various forms of evidence.
Currently, USCIS says that the information that DACA applicants’ provide will not be shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unless it is found that there are some national security, fraud or public safety concerns. This being said, there is no guarantee in the future that if there is a terrorist attack that USCIS will reconsider what information is deemed to be relevant for disclosure.
Why Hire an Attorney?
When filing DACA, an attorney may assist you in understanding if you meet the criteria, which can be particularly more complex if you may have particular grounds of inadmissibility or past immigration violations or convictions. Also, presenting evidence of residing in the US for the validity period and continuity of residence for the relevant period may require some creativity, and an attorney would be able to assist in suggesting appropriate forms of evidence.
To discuss a potential DACA case with an experienced immigration attorney from the American Visa Law Group, feel free to click the contact us tab and fill out the inquiry form or call us at 510-500-1155.