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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Begins Aug 15, 2012

Statue of Liberty side 148345405 Statue of Liberty side 148345405

Statue of Liberty side 148345405The new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be implemented on August 15, 2012. USCIS is now finalizing the process through which certain qualified individuals may request consideration of deferred action. The new DHS Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy will enable certain young people who came to the US as children, and who meet a set of other qualifications, to receive what is known as “deferred action” (relief from deportation) on a case-by-case basis.

What Is Deferred Action?

Deferred Action provides qualified individuals with relief from deportation. Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Deferred action does NOT confer lawful immigration status in the US. Moreover, although an individual whose case if deferred will not be considered to be accruing unlawful presence in the US during the period deferred action is in effect, deferred action does not excuse individuals of any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence in the US.

Under current regulations, a person whose case has been deferred is eligible to receive employment authorization for the period of deferred action if s/he can show an “economic necessity for employment.” DHS has the authority to terminate or renew deferred action at any time at the agency’s discretion.

What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that certain people who came to the US as children and who also meet several other qualifications may request consideration of deferred action for two years, subject to renewal, and would also then be eligible for work authorization.

Those who can show, through verifiable documentation, that they meet these guidelines will be considered for deferred action. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis under the guidelines set forth in the Secretary of Homeland Security’s memorandum.

Eligibility for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

You may request consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) if you meet the following requirements:

  1. You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.
  2. You came to the US before reaching your 16th birthday.
  3. You have continuously lived in the US since June 15, 2007, until the present time.
  4. You were physically present in the US on June 15, 2012, and you are physically present in the US at the time you make your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS.
  5. You entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012.
  6. You are currently in school, you have graduated, or you have obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or you are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the US. AND,
  7. You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and you do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Individuals who meet the above qualifications may begin requesting consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals on August 15, 2012. USCIS requests that prospective applicants PLEASE DO NOT FILE BEFORE AUGUST 15, 2012. IF YOU FILE EARLY, YOUR REQUEST WILL BE REJECTED.

Please see the USCIS Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) web page and its links to FAQs, brochures and instructions on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals process before filing a request for deferred action.

Also, see the AILA Consumer Advisory (American Immigration Lawyers Association) on immigration scams before embarking on the Deferred Action process.

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