Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
What is Deferred Action?
The DACA program provides temporary relief to immigrants brought to the U.S. while a child if they certain criteria. DACA is an administrative remedy implemented in the aftermath of Congressional failures in passing the DREAM Act. The executive measure is a mechanism by which “childhood arrivals” can stay and work here legally without the fear of deportation.
What does Deferred Action Allow?
A grant of DACA gives someone who qualifies the ability to stay in the U.S. without fear of removal for a limited time, and during that time work legally. In certain situations, a DACA grant might give the ability to travel abroad and return.
Qualifying for Deferred Action
In order to qualify under the program, an individual must have:
- Entered the U.S. prior to the age of 16
- Been under the age of 31 on 6/15/12
- Not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, 3 or more misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to public safety
- Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, obtained a GED or have been honorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces
- Continuously resided in the U.S. since 6/15/07 until the present time
- Entered without inspection, or the applicant’s lawful immigration status must have expired as of June 15, 2012
How to Apply for Deferred Action
The procedure depends on which category the childhood arrival falls into. The applicants will fall into three categories, each with their own requirements:
- Individuals Who Have Never Been Encountered By Immigration Authorities
- Individuals Already in Removal/Deportation Proceedings
- Individuals Who Have Already Been Ordered Deported By an Immigration Court
Eligibility depends on a person’s individual circumstances. For example, departures from the U.S. might have broken continuous residency and certain crimes might disqualify an applicant. If you believe that you or someone you know qualifies for Deferred Action, schedule a consultation to have the case thoroughly evaluated. A mistake in evaluating the eligibility or preparing the case may expose the applicant to removal proceedings.
It is important to note that this is not a permanent solution. It is not a process that culminates in permanent residency or citizenship. DACA is not based on any law, but rather an administrative “temporary fix” which can be withdrawn at any time. It is up to Congress to change the law.