What it is and why you should consider applying for it. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. New terminology, new hope for those who dare dream.
“I came here as a child with my parents. I don’t feel I have a dual identity. This is where I grew up. This is what I know.” These comments are commonly expressed sentiments of hundreds of thousands of young individuals who came into the U.S., both through legal and illegal means. Some were being hand carried in baby carriages made of old paper bags and rags. Some were driven hundreds of miles while in hidden compartments in trucks or cars and often endured temperatures over one hundred degrees. Some were pulled in by a tight hand hold from family members or on occasion, by hired hands known as “coyotes”. All eventually were brought in over the border and onto U.S. soil. Others came in legally under their family’s visa but over-stayed after the visa expired.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was recently approved by the Obama Administration. On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people 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 then be eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is an act of prosecutorial discretion by the Department of Homeland Security to defer removal action of individuals who meet very rigorous requirements necessary to be eligible for cancellation of removal or a stay of deportation proceedings. Deferred action however does not provide an individual with lawful status. The actual procedural means to implement this deferred action was offered and placed into action by the Federal Government beginning on August 15, 2012 as the date for individuals to begin requesting consideration for relief under DACA.
The basic requirements for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals include: (1) Being under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; (2) Having entered the United States prior to reaching age 16; (3) Having continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time; (4) Having been physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making the request for consideration of deferred action with United States Citizens and Immigration Services, (USCIS); (4) Having entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or having their lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012; (6) Being currently in school, having graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from High School, or having obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or having been Honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and (7) Having not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and not otherwise posing a threat to national security or public safety.
While it has been several weeks since the DACA option was initially implemented, as of October 1, 2012 a few hundred thousand applications have been filed and are being processed. A distinct number have already been approved. Deferred action is a remarkable boon for certain young immigrants. Not only does it remove the fear of deportation for at least two years at a time, it also grants work authorization which has ancillary benefits. These include being able to obtain a valid social security number as well as a driver’s license. Obviously this opens up a world of possibilities. Many who could not pursue a college education because of lack of acceptable documentation will now be able to pursue higher education. Another benefit of having approved work authorization is that many of these young people will be able to obtain professional licenses. This creates avenues to greater employment opportunities and career development which ultimately, positively effects our economy at a time when the economic woes on our Country could use much needed assistance.
Finally, because there is no mechanism set for appealing a denial or for seeking reconsideration, in order to ensure their best chance of success, DACA applicants would be well advised to seek professional assistance from knowledgable and experienced Immigration lawyers. Presently, at the Cardona Law Firm, LLC we have put together and filed several applications for deferred action consideration under DACA.
We are very happy to report that several applications have recently been approved.
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