The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently announced that it will begin to accept requests under the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on February, 18 2015. This is the first day that individuals can submit a request to apply for the DACA program as part of the revised guidelines that President Barack Obama announced in his executive action immigration plan in November 2014.

Initial DACA Program Requirements

In September 2012, the U.S. government announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines to request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. Importantly, this allows children eligible under the program to remain in the United States without having to fear being deported. Importantly, it also allows eligible children to apply for work authorization.

In order to qualify under the initial DACA program, an applicant had to come to the United States before one’s 16th birthday, must have continuously resided in the United States since 15 June 2007, must have been under the age of 31, and must have had no lawful status in the United States, as well as several other requirements. Ultimately, there had been some criticism of the initial DACA program in that it did not provide deportation relief for enough immigrants.

Requirements for Expanded DACA Program

Recently, President Barack Obama enacted significant reform that will expand the DACA program, as well as impact other immigration programs. Through the president’s executive immigration plan, he has expanded the DACA program to increase the number of immigrants eligible for deportation relief. Specifically, the DACA program expands to individuals who:

  • Entered the United States before the age of 16;
  • Have lived in continuously United States continuously since at least 1 January 2010, rather than the prior requirement of 15 June 2007; and
  • Are of any age (removes the requirement to have been born since June 15, 1981).

Applicants must also meet other requirements under the initial DACA program, including not having been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and not otherwise posing a threat to national security or public safety. The expanded DACA program also increases the time period of employment authorization from two years to three years.

Questions about the DACA Program? Contact a Texas Immigration Attorney

If you have any questions regarding the new DACA program, a Texas immigration attorney can help answer your questions and more. The Lozano Law Firm, PLLC, a full-service immigration law firm, has experienced Texas immigration attorneys who can help guide you through the DACA process and the program’s different requirements.

Contact an experienced Texas immigration law attorney at the Lozano Law Firm, PLLC. Our firm is located in San Antonio and San Angelo. Call our San Antonio office at (210) 932-3600 or the San Angelo office at (325) 227-6736. The Lozano Law Firm, PLLC wants to help you and your family with all your immigration needs.