A US Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York has ordered the USCIS to start accepting applications filed by individuals for DACA status. These are individuals who were previously barred from applying for DACA by the Trump administration. The Department of Homeland Security was ordered by the Supreme Court to resume accepting DACA applications, but so far limited that ruling only to applications for renewal of existing DACA recipients. However, with this new District Court order, the USCIS is required to accept DACA applications from new first time DACA applicants as well.
Please stay tuned for any further information on this very important breaking news, a Christmas gift from the US District Court.
Deferred Action for childhood arrivals is a complex issue. You need to meet a certain number of requirements. You must also consider the risks and the benefits. This article is not complete legal advice – consult an attorney for details about your specific case.
A brief summary of DACA
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a program that was announced by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on June 15, 2012. https://www.dhs.gov/news/2012/06/15
It allows young people who were brought to the USA as children before the age of 16 and who had been in the United States for at least 5 years to apply for a grant of Deferred Action from the DHS. The DHS can approve up to a two-year grant of Deferred Action during which time the applicant can receive employment authorization. DACA applications currently require a filing fee of $495.00, although this may increase soon.
What do I need to file DACA?
There are several requirements, including time spent in the USA, and criminal record. If the following apply, you MAY be eligible for Deferred Action:
□ You entered the USA on or before June 15, 2007, and were under the age of 16 at the time;
□ You were born after June 15, 1981;
□ You were in the USA on June 15, 2012;
□ You have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
□ You are currently in school, graduated or received a certificate of completion from high school, obtained a GED certificate or other equivalent state-authorized exam in the United States, or that you are an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or U.S. Coast Guard.
□ You have never been convicted of a felony or a serious offense or a DUI. You have never been convicted of more than two minor offenses.
If you are, or have ever been in removal proceedings, please be sure to consult an attorney to see if you still qualify for DACA.
Are there risks applying for DACA?
Yes, there are risks. If your application is denied, and you have some criminal background, USCIS will refer your case to USICE to commence deportation (removal) proceedings. Also, you will be giving up valuable details about yourself including all of your contact information, places you have lived and worked. You may provide details about other people in your family or friends who may have helped you. DACA does not give you any rights to get permanent residence or any other legal status in the USA.
Are there benefits to applying for DACA?
Yes, there are benefits, for example, if you are in deportation proceedings, those proceedings can be closed if DACA is approved. If you have already been ordered deported, you can apply for DACA and if approved your deportation will be stopped. You can get employment authorization and apply for a valid social security number and a valid state ID or driver’s license. These documents will allow you to work legally in the USA. Therefore, there are substantial benefits for applying for DACA.
If you somehow missed applying for DACA and believe you are still eligible for a grant of DACA, contact a qualified and competent attorney to evaluate your case. Only you can decide to apply for DACA. Do not let anybody else pressure you. Get all the facts first. Remember, this is only general legal advice. Not advice on your specific situation. For specific advice, consult an immigration attorney.
© Farhad Sethna, Attorney, 2020
Farhad Sethna has practiced law for over 25 years. He was awarded his JD in 1990 and his MBA in 1991, both from the University of Akron. Since 1996, he has also been an adjunct professor of Immigration Law at the University of Akron, School of Law, in Akron, Ohio, where he wrote and continues to use his own immigration textbook. Attorney Sethna is a frequent speaker at Continuing Legal Education and professional development seminars on various immigration-related topics. His practice is limited to immigration and small business. He has won awards for excellence in teaching and for pro-bono service. With offices in Cuyahoga Falls, Akron and New Philadelphia, Ohio, Attorney Sethna represents clients in all types of immigration cases before federal agencies and the immigration courts nationwide. A private pilot, it is Farhad’s goal to fly to each of Ohio’s 88 county airports. Our number is: (330) 384-8000. Please send your general immigration questions to AttorneySethna@immigration-america.com. We will try to answer as many questions as possible.