Do you or a loved one have questions about the federal DACA program DACA Many changes have impacted this program in recent years, so be sure to work with an immigration attorney if you plan to open your application.
What Is DACA?
Under this program, announced in 2012, the Department of Homeland Security allows certain individuals who come to the U.S. as qualifying children to request consideration for “deferred action” for two years. After this point, the status can be renewed. This term means that the prosecution has the discretion to pause removal actions. Although it does not give an immigrant legal status at this time, it allows them to be eligible to work in the US. As such, you need to hire an immigration attorney immediately.
Those who were approved for this program did not become citizens or were put on a path to citizenship, but can obtain a social security number, a work permit, and a driver’s license because of this program.
What Are The Eligibility Requirements For DACA?
You can apply for DACA if you meet specific basic eligibility requirements, including:
- You were younger than 31 years old as of June 15, 2012.
- Arrived in the U.S. Before turning 16 years old
- Have lived in the U.S. continuously since June 15, 2007, through the time of your application
- You physically lived in the U.S. in June 2012 and at the time you submitted your DACA application.
- No legal status as of June 15, 2012
- Are in school, graduated from high school, earned a GED, or have been an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces
- Have not been convicted of three or more misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors or felonies
If I Have A Criminal Record, Can I Qualify For DACA?
Whether you can still qualify for DACA with a criminal record depends on your personal background. Anyone with a significant misdemeanor cannot use the DACA program. These include any offense punishable by at least five days in jail, regardless of the final sentence imposed on that person. Robbery, domestic violence, DUI, illegal possession of firearms, sexual abuse and drug distribution or trafficking charges are examples of these types of offenses.
Additionally, USCIS has the discretion to determine whether any other conduct allegedly carried out by the person in question could still meet the grounds of a significant misdemeanor, even when other aspects mentioned above were not related to the offense.
What Changes Did U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) Make To DACA?
In 2017, the Trump administration announced its intention to end this program altogether. That has changed due to a December 2020 court decision and the election of a new president, but work to undo what the previous administration did is still in progress. That is why it is even more critical to hire an immigration attorney in your case. During that administration, several changes to the DACA program were implemented, including denials of all new DACA applications, a reduction in the length of time the program operated from two years to one, and the denial of all requests for travel outside the U.S.
USCIS was able to accept DACA applications for the first time after a December 2020 court ruling. A month earlier, a judge held that the aforementioned changes to the DACA program under Chad Wolf, acting head of DHS, were unauthorized and should not have been made.
What Are President Joe Biden’s Priorities Regarding DACA?
The president strongly supports this program. By a presidential action statement from the briefing room, it intends to preserve and strengthen this program. It is possible, but there is no guarantee that more children will be eligible for this program under the current administration. Biden stated in his election campaign that he intended to reinstate this program within his first 100 days as president.
Have Questions About Your DACA Eligibility? Contact The Lozano Law Firm
We understand that it can be confusing and overwhelming when a change in presidential administrations and Congress means that immigration policies could also change. That’s why we work hard to help families and corporations through the immigration maze. We will sit down with you to get an idea of where your case is now and what you can realistically expect.
Obtaining the assistance of an immigration attorney could significantly affect your ability to apply for DACA. The rules of this program are specific, and now is the perfect time to take advantage of a supportive presidential administration. In addition, a court decision in late 2020 means that the government has to reopen DACA to applicants, which could allow up to 300,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to enroll. This program has been renewed for two more years, so time is critical to open your application.
An immigration attorney can help you with your first-time application. Alfredo Lozano, a board-certified immigration attorney licensed to practice U.S. immigration law, can help you navigate the confusing paperwork with experience, dedication and an individual approach. To obtain legal advice about your DACA case from one of the Texas immigration attorneys at The Lozano Law Firm PLLC, fill out our contact form or call us at (210) 899-2290.
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