Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (D.A.C.A.)

On June 15, 2012 the Secretary of Homeland Security, John Morton, announced the Department of Homeland Security's approach to immigration with regards to children who unlawfully immigrated to the United States.  Many of these children are a low priority for the Department of Homeland Security and now may be considered for Deferred Action. However these individuals must meet several key guidelines to be considered.  

Eligibility

There are seven requirements that must be met for an individual to qualify for D.A.C.A. 

  1. The individual must have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;

  2. Came to the United States before his/her 16th birthday;

  3. Continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;

  4. Was physically present in the United States both on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making a request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;

  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or their lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;

  6. Is currently in school, graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, or 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

  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Benefits

Those who are granted deferred action are considered a low priority for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  This status allows the individuals to qualify for work authorization. However, deferred action only lasts for two years, but is renewable. While in D.A.C.A status these individuals do not accrue unlawful presence in the United States for admissibility purposes. 

Misconceptions

While individuals who are granted D.A.C.A. are considered lawfully present within the United States, it does not convey legal status.  D.A.C.A. also does not guarantee that individuals will not be removed from the country, Department of Homeland Security can revoke deferred action at any time.  

DACA Renewals

Now that two years have passes since the government has passed Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals it is time to renew your work permit.  Please note that in order to be guaranteed that the government will process your application before your work permit expires you must file for your renewal 4-5 months before your work permit expires.