One Year Anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

by keith on July 1, 2013

520,000 DACA Applications were Approved

June 12, 2013, marked the one year anniversary of when President Obama announced the new program of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Since that time over 520,000 applications were approved with only 19,000 applications rejected. Although the rate of application has drastically dropped, it is still possible to apply.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is an Executive Directive that allows certain eligible undocumented immigrants who can to the United States before the age of 16 to gain relief from deportation. This is not a path to citizenship, however it does allow these young people to register for benefits such as employment authorization, attend university, and most importantly it tolls the accrual of unlawful presence.

The eligibility requirements to qualify for deferred action are as follows:

  • As of June 15, 2012 you were under the age of 31
  • You entered the United States when you were under the age of 16
  • You have continuously lived (“resided”) in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 up until the date you apply (excluding any brief, casual and innocent departures)
  • You were physically present in the U.S> on June 15, 2012 and also at the time of your application
  • You either entered the U.S. without inspection before June 15, 2012, or if you entered with inspection, your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012
  • You are either in school now, graduated or earned a certificate of completion from an accredited high school, obtained a 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 present a threat to the national security of the United States or public safety (i.e., you cannot be a member of a gang).

There are some risks involved with applying for deferred action which should be considered before you apply.

Although USCIS has stated that your information will not be shared with ICE unless for fraud, national security or public safety reasons, because DACA is an Executive Directive and not a law, this could change in the future.

Anyone who committed fraud to enter the United States illegally, i.e., by using a fake passport or other documentation or who might be perceived as a national threat or threat to public safety should not apply for DACA relief. Cases such as these may be referred by USCIS to ICE to start removal proceedings.

Additionally, the grant of relief under DACA does not allow an undocumented immigration to travel freely in and out of the United States. Although in some instances you can apply for authorization to travel outside of the United States, you still may incur scrutiny by border patrol. There is no guarantee you will not be detained at the border.
Furthermore, what additional state benefits you will be allowed to apply for varies from state to state. It is best to seek advice from an experienced immigration attorney prior to any DACA application.

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