If you have applied for DACA or wish to do so, it is a good idea to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer to understand your rights.
DACA approval enables a young person otherwise unlawfully present in the United States to gain work authorization, a social security card, narrow travel rights, and most importantly solidifies a favorable position of the subject to be on a path to U.S citizenship if comprehensive immigration reform were to pass. The subject must renew the status every two years, on the condition and strong likelihood that the U.S. government will continue extend the program.
DACA comes from President Obama's executive order as a response to the Republican-controlled House's inability to pass the Democrat majority Senate's proposed immigration reform. When I attended a workshop for lawyers about DACA, every lawyer in the room raised their hands when asked if the lawyer would recommend the program to qualified candidates. As of the summer of 2014, only 55% of potential applicants have filed for this benefit. I encourage more candidates to apply for DACA because the chances of deportation are slim, it provides helpful immigration benefits, and it sends a message to the government to take DACA applicants seriously as potential future voters.
So how do you qualify? Here are the elements you must satisfy:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from 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
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor,or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
- Also, anyone requesting DACA must have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. You must also be at least 15 years or older to request DACA, unless you are currently in removal proceedings or have a final removal or voluntary departure order, as summarized in the table below:
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