KEY POINTS ABOUT DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (DACA)
© Attorney Farhad Sethna, 2012
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 brief article is not complete legal advice. Please see other articles at www.immigration-america.com. Consult an attorney for details.
What is the DACA?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a program announced by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on June 15, 2012. It allows young people who were brought to the USA as children before the age of 16 and have been in the United States at least 5 years to apply for a grant of Deferred Action from the DHS. The DHS can approve upto a two-year grant of Deferred Action during which time the applicant can receive employment authorization. DACA applications can be filed only after August 15, 2012 with a filing fee of $465.00
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 until the present;
□ 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; and
□ You are under age 31 as of June 15, 2012;
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. After two years, there are no guarantees that DACA will continue. 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.
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.