President Obama finally announced his plans to overhaul U.S. immigration policies via executive action. This blog post will focus on the President’s initiative to increase the amount of people who can be eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Eligible individuals will be granted deferred action and work authorization for three years under this expanded DACA program. This expansion also eliminates the upper age limit of 31, so anyone who meets the remaining requirements can apply.
Please note that this provision was dealt a set back by a US district court ruling which has ordered an injunction on the program. However, we will briefly outline the eligibility requirements and please keep watching this blog for developments.
The DACA program does not convey legal immigration status, and its benefits may not be permanent. However, it is a chance to get employment authorization, apply for a social security number, obtain a drivers license (in most states), go to college, travel, and, for at least three years, be free from fear of deportation.
You may soon be able to request consideration of deferred action and be eligible for work authorization if you:
- Entered the U.S. before your 16th birthday;
- Continuously resided in the U.S. since January 1, 2010 to present;
- Were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and when requesting consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Had no lawful status on 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 U.S.; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Be aware that you may be offered immigration help by unauthorized people who are will try to take advantage of you. Please avoid an immigration services scam by contacting a skilled immigration attorney for more information. Shelley Kalita is a member of the American Association of Immigration Lawyers and stays informed on the latest USCIS interpretations and evaluation criteria to assist you in filing an application that will get you the best result for your case.