Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

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As immigration lawyers, we have expertise with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, an immigration directive to help certain young, undocumented immigrants. DACA not only defers action on eligible individual immigration cases, but also provides employment authorization, i.e., a work permit, for two years. The Department of Homeland Security considers recipients of Deferred Action to be lawfully present during the two-year period of immigration relief.

What immigration benefits can you get through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?

DACA, also known as Deferred Action, is a form of discretionary immigration relief, which essentially gives you two important benefits:

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protects you from deportation.
  • DACA allows you to get a work permit (also known as an Employment Authorization Card). A work permit, through Deferred Action, would allow you to get a social security number and, then, possibly apply for a Massachusetts driver’s license.

Deferred Action is only valid for a temporary, two-year period. But you can apply to renew or extend Deferred Action immigration relief.

Eligibility Requirements for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

  1. You entered the United States when you were under sixteen years old;
  2. You were living in the U.S. continuously for at least five years before June 15, 2012, the day the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program was announced;
  3. You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, the date the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals memorandum was issued;
  4. You are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a GED certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;

You have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, and you do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and you are under thirty years old.

Documents to collect for the DACA application:

  • Proof of identity;
  • Documentation to you came to the U.S. before your 16th birthday;
  • Evidence of immigration status;
  • Proof of presence in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and proof of continuous residence since June 15, 2007;
  • Evidence showing graduation from high school or recipient of G.E.D. or that you are currently enrolled in school;
  • Proof that you are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States (if applicable); and
  • Documentation that you do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.

What Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is NOT

Deferred Action gives you a work permit and deportation defense – that’s it. Here is what DACA is NOT:

Deferred Action is NOT a green card or a direct path to a green card.
Deferred Action is NOT U.S. citizenship and doesn’t lead to citizenship and doesn’t involve the naturalization process.
Deferred Action will not allow you to travel abroad. Although with Deferred Action status you may then be eligible to seek a Travel Document, which, if approved, would give you permission to travel internationally.

Deferred Action/DACA Renewal Process

The earliest grants of DACA will begin expiring in September 2014. USCIS has prepared a renewal process so that eligible individuals can request extensions of their deferred action status without going out of status or losing work authorization.

At the end of May 2014, USCIS published Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allows for first-time and renewal requests for DACA.

DACA renewal requests should be submitted about 120 days (4 months) before your current period of relief expires. Your Employment Authorization Card will expire at the same time as your deferred action. The expiration date for your period of deferred action and your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is printed on the front of the card.

When renewing, you will be required to submit new documents related to deportation proceedings or criminal cases not yet submitted to USCIS.

Interested in Deferred Action/DACA? Our Immigration Lawyers can help!

If you have questions about whether you qualify for Deferred Action or how you can take advantage of DACA, please call or email me. With my considerable experience as an immigration lawyer, I would be happy to meet with you for a consultation in my Boston office and help you sort out your immigration options. Don’t risk applying on your own when an effective immigration lawyer is just a phone call  away.