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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Relief For Child Immigrants With Unlawful Presence

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain individuals who came to the United States as children and meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would be eligible for work authorization.  Individuals who receive deferred action will not be placed in removal proceedings, or removed from the United States, for a specific period of time unless terminated.  Deferred action, however, does not provide an individual with lawful status, but can be utilized for individuals in removal (deportation) proceedings.  DACA relief is discretionary and can be revoked by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at any time.

Although no pathway to a GreenCard or citizenship is provided under DACA, this form of relief can be a valuable benefit to young people who may avoid accruing a 3-year or 10-year bar from the U.S. based on the duration of their unlawful presence after reaching the age of 18.  Also, adults who have been undocumented in the U.S. for years and obtained higher education, for instance, can obtain a work permit and thereby use their degrees to obtain professional jobs outside of the informal or service-related sectors that cater to undocumented immigrants.

Over 900,000 individuals were estimated to be immediately eligible for deferred action when the DACA program was announced over a year ago.  As of August 2013, the USCIS accepted 567,563 applications.

You may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you:   

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;

  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;

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

  4. 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;

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

  6. 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

  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.

Applicants must show that they were present in the U.S. during the time-table outlined above.  School records, such as transcripts and identification cards, are the most commonly used to establish presence.  It is important to note that work permits may be issued if the person demonstrates an economic necessity for employment, but they are not an automatic benefit.

Note that if an applicant is in the United States unlawfully and applies for DACA relief but does not meet all of the eligibility requirements, the applicant could be placed in removal proceedings.

If you or someone you know meets the criteria above, consult with an immigration attorney right away to find out if DACA is a viable option to avoid removal and obtain a work permit.   For more information, watch this brief USCIS video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9Lfqs8_Cak

About The Grady Firm, P.C.

The Grady Firm works with dynamic employers and employees across the country to prepare successful employment-based visa and Green Card applications. In addition, we help individuals, families, employees, business owners, and investors obtain non-immigrant and immigrant visas (B-1/B2, H-1B, H-2B, L-1A, L-1B, O-1, TN, E-2, E-3), as well and Green Cards and citizenship based on family relationships, investment, or employment.

To schedule a complimentary consultation to find out if you qualify for DACA, call The Grady Firm at: (949) 798-6298, or fill out a Contact Request Form.

*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. This article does not make any guarantees as to the outcome of a particular matter, as each matter has its own set of circumstances and must be evaluated individually by a licensed attorney.


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