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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals FAQ

If you came to the United States as a child and were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, you may be eligible to remain in the country with authorization to work under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Under President Barack Obama’s recent executive action, even more individuals may qualify for DACA.

To be considered for deferred action, as discussed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you must meet certain requirements to qualify for the program.

The experienced Dallas immigration lawyers at Kraft & Associates, P.C. understand the complex and constantly evolving federal immigration laws. Our immigration practice areas include family-based visas and permanent residency, requests for asylum, deportation defense and other immigration legal matters.

We are an established law firm with dedicated attorneys and staff who are friendly and easy to talk to. Our lawyers understand the immigration process thoroughly and are very familiar with working with the agencies to achieve positive results.

We have provided some answers to the most commonly asked questions about DACA below. For specific answers to your individual questions, please call or e-mail today and tell us about your situation. We want to help.  We are honest with our clients and we will not take a case – or money – unless we feel there is a realistic possibility of achieving the desired outcome.

What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals?

As reported by the American Immigration Council, the Obama administration launched DACA in June 2012 with the purpose of suspending deportation temporarily for young people residing in the U.S. illegally who were brought to this country as children and meet certain other criteria.

According to USCIS, DACA does not confer lawful status. However, if you are approved for deferral under DACA, deportation action will be suspended during the deferral period and no unlawful presence is accrued during this time for admissibility purposes. The deferral period is two years, subject to renewal for an additional two years. President Obama’s executive action on immigration extended the deferral period to three years.

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What are the requirements for DACA consideration?

Individuals requesting consideration for DACA must meet certain established guidelines. In order to be considered, you must demonstrate to USCIS that:

  • As of June 15, 2012, you were under the age of 31.
  • You arrived in the U.S. before your 16th birthday.
  • You have resided in the U.S. continuously from June 15, 2007, to the present.
  • You were physically present in the country on June 15, 2012, and on the date you requested consideration for deferred action from USCIS.
  • On June 15, 2012, you had no lawful immigration status. (This could mean either that you had no lawful status to begin with, or that your status expired before June 15, 2012.)
  • You are currently in school, or one of the following applies:
  • You have graduated from high school or received a high school certificate of completion.
  • You obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate.
  • You are an honorably discharged U.S. Armed Forces or Coast Guard veteran.
  • You pose no threat to public safety or national security, and you have not been convicted of a felony or any significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors.

The president’s 2014 executive action made changes to the DACA requirements to expand the program. However, the requirements listed above remain in effect until a legal challenge is resolved.

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What changes have been made to the DACA program?

President Obama issued a series of executive actions on immigration on Nov. 20, 2014, including expansion of the DACA program. The eligible population was expanded to include people of any age who entered the U.S. before they turned 16 and who have lived in the country continuously since Jan. 1, 2010.

However, as noted by USCIS, the agency was unable to begin accepting requests for expanded consideration under DACA on Feb. 18, 2015, as originally planned, because a federal judge in the Southern District of Texas issued a ruling to suspend the executive action.

Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Charles Johnson issued a press statement on Feb. 17, 2015, in which he strongly disagreed with the judge’s ruling and announced the intention to fight it on appeal. Secretary Johnson stressed that, in the meantime, USCIS will continue accepting requests for consideration from individuals who qualify under the 2012 DACA guidelines.

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Will I be eligible for work authorization if I am approved for DACA deferral?

Yes. As stated by USCIS, if your removal is deferred under DACA and you can demonstrate an economic need for employment, USCIS will give you authorization to work.

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What impact has the DACA program had on young immigrants in the U.S.?

The American Immigration Council reports that, as of June 2014, two years after the DACA initiative was launched, its researchers found in a national survey that beneficiaries of the program have experienced a significant increase in economic opportunities. As of March 2014, 673,414 young people had applied and 553,197 had been approved for the program.

Of the young people participating in the Council’s national survey:

  • 59 percent had found new employment.
  • 49 percent had opened their first bank account.
  • 33 percent got their first credit card.
  • 57 percent had been licensed to drive.
  • 21 percent obtained health care coverage.
  • 45 percent increased their earnings.
  • 21 percent had obtained internships.

The researchers found that benefits were greater under the DACA program for young people with more education. Those with a bachelor’s degree were 1.5 times more likely to find a new job and increase their earnings, and four-year college students were 1.6 times more likely to obtain internships.

The survey also showed that DACA beneficiaries work hard. More than two-thirds of the young people surveyed were employed at the time and one-third were holding more than one job. With the work permits provided by DACA, these young people are able to contribute at higher levels to the skilled U.S. workforce.

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How do I request consideration for deportation deferral under DACA?

Submitting a request to USCIS for consideration under DACA is a rather complicated process. According to USCIS instructions, you must complete, sign and submit, along with filing fees, Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, along with Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-765 Worksheet, to show your need for employment. Filing fees are $465.

When you work with Kraft & Associates, P.C., you can have the peace of mind of knowing that your attorney thoroughly understands the process and can anticipate problems and deal with them in advance to help you avoid delays.

Contact us today to find out if you may be eligible for DACA consideration. Our attorneys will not take a case unless we believe there is a realistic possibility of success.

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