Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
The United States government recently announced a new legalization process called deferred action. This process is effective immediately and allows certain young people who meet key criteria to be considered for relief from deportation proceedings. Under deferred action, individuals who meet the following criteria may qualify for this directive:
You may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety
What does deferred action mean?
If you qualify under the above criteria, you can be eligible to obtain a work authorization and permission to remain in the United States for an additional two years. This two-year period can also be extended or renewed. Deferred action is determined on a case by case basis and work authorization is only given if you can prove that you have an “economic necessity for employment.” In addition, if you are currently in deportation proceedings, by applying for deferred action they can be stopped. To obtain deferred action, you must provide verifiable documentation that you meet the above criteria.
The United States government implemented deferred action with the intention to grant permission to remain in the country to individuals who are not a risk to national security. This directive is part of a process that the Department of Homeland Security is using to focus its enforcement on those who actually pose a threat to the nation. You may be able to qualify for this action and remain in the United States. For immediate information on the process, please contact our firm. We would be happy to speak with you on behalf of the deferral action process.
How to Provide Verification of Residency in the United States
In order to obtain deferred action, you must provide the proper documentation to meet the qualifying criteria. Without this important information you may not be able to provide adequate proof of residency. This documentation can be proven in a number of ways, including:
- School records: GED certificates, diplomas, report cards, transcripts
- Financial records: bank statements, credit card statements, loans statements
- Medical records: ER records, dental records, general practitioner bills
- Employment records: pay stubs, employee contracts, clock cards, overtime work records
- Military records: report of separation forms, military personnel records, military health records
How much will it cost?
Those applying to be considered for deferred action must submit the appropriate forms along with a $465 fee. Fee exemptions are available under very limited circumstances. Those eligible for exemptions are individuals whose incomes are less than 150 percent of the U.S poverty level, but only when they are one of the following:
- A minor who is homeless, in foster care or otherwise lacking parental or familial support
- An individual who cannot care for himself or herself due to a serious chronic disability
- An individual who has obtained at least $25,000 in debt over the past 12 months due to unreimbursed medical expenses for oneself or a family member.
Deferred Action and the Deportation Process
For the individuals who are currently undergoing deportation or are aware that deportation action may be taken against them, there are ways to stop this process though deferred action. For the individuals who are subject to a final order of removal, you should contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If you have a case pending before the Executive Office for Immigration Review or a federal court, then speak with an employee at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. You should also strongly consider contacting an attorney at this time. Our firm can represent you and your rights during any stage of the deportation process. It is important to remember that the deferred action does not qualify you for permanent lawful status or citizenship, nor does it allow any of your beneficiaries to be granted lawful status.
Launch of the New Policy
The Obama Administration announced the option of deferred action on June 15, 2010. The process is geared toward young immigrants who would qualify for relief through the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act is legislation that would allow certain young immigrants who are pursuing college educations or service in the U.S. military to obtain legal permanent residency. The act, which is designed for immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children, lists certain requirements. Those eligible for permanent residency through the act would be required to have attended college or served in the U.S. military for at least two years during their six-year “conditional status” periods. They would also have to pass criminal background checks and meet other criteria. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) started accepting requests for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals on Aug. 15, 2012.
Individuals who might be able to take advantage of the new deferred action policy should immediately consult with a legal professional to determine their options and ensure they are following the appropriate procedures.
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