Everything You Need To Know About DACA

You have probably been hearing and reading a lot in the news about citizenship legislation recently. While this is always an important issue, it is particularly prominent now as Congress is set to discuss it in the coming months, and how things will be conducted going forward. One of the most important programs set to be discussed is DACA. This post runs through what DACA is, why it is important, and what you should do if you believe that you or your loved ones may be eligible for the program. 

What is DACA? 

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was a program first introduced under President Obama in 2012. It was designed to protect those who were brought into the United States as children from being deported. The protection that the program offers lasts for two years at a time, but can be renewed numerous times.

Why should I care?

Despite numerous efforts by the Trump administration to end the protection that DACA offers, the program has managed to survive in name up until this point. In December of 2020 the program’s initial regulations were ordered to be reinstated. 

This entails:

  • Accepting first-time applications to consider deferred action under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) under the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017 and in accordance with the Court’s order of 4 December 2020;
  • Accepting DACA renewal requests based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017 and in accordance with the court order of December 4, 2020;
  • Accepting requests for advance parole documents based on the terms of the DACA policy prior to September 5, 2017 and in accordance with the court order of December 4, 2020;
  • Extending deferred action grants for one year under DACA to two years; 
  • Extending employment authorization documents from one year under DACA to two years.

However, with progress on Congressional debates over DACA, and other proposed citizenship legislation, being notoriously slow, there is no saying when potential beneficiaries of the program will know for definite what is going to happen in the long-run.

Who benefits from the program?

 Those who benefit from the protection that DACA can offer are commonly referred to as ‘dreamers’. They are largely young adults in their mid-20s who were brought into the United States from Mexico at a young age with family members. 

Guidelines published by USCIS state that you may be eligible for DACA if you fall into one or more of the following groups: 

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

  1. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  3. 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;
  4. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012, meaning that:
  5. You never had a lawful immigration status on or before June 15, 2012, or
  6. Any lawful immigration status or parole that you obtained prior to June 15, 2012, had expired as of June 15, 2012;
  7. 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
  8. 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.

What to do if you think that you are eligible

If you or someone you know is eligible for DACA, then it is best to act right away. One of the fastest and most efficient ways to do this is to get in contact with National Immigration Authorities. This client centred firm works collaboratively with clients in 72 hours to organize and explain all of the paperwork involved with DACA petitions. They are also available to answer any questions you may have, but if you require any more general information about DACA or similar programs, visit USCIS.

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