Nearly 2 million children were brought into the U.S. by their parents unlawfully before 2012. Despite growing up in the U.S. and considering the country to be their home, many of the people brought into the U.S. unlawfully through no fault of their own still face risks of deportation and removal. Recognizing that undocumented people were brought into the country through no fault of their own as children, the Obama Administration initiated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2012.
DACA offers immigration relief to young people who entered the U.S. as children and meet specific eligibility requirements. On Aug. 15, 2012, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services started accepting DACA applications. Young people who are at risk of deportation and removal, are currently in removal proceedings, or have received final orders of removal and meet DACA guidelines might be allowed to remain in the U.S. and receive employment authorization through DACA. An experienced New York immigration lawyer at Oltarsh & Associates can help with DACA applications and defend against deportation and removal.
What is DACA?
During a speech in the Rose Garden on June 15, 2012, former President Barack Obama announced the establishment of DACA as an immigration policy in the U.S. The Homeland Security secretary said that people who entered the U.S. as children and met several eligibility criteria could request deferred action for two-year periods with eligibility for renewal. DACA recipients are also eligible to receive employment authorization while they remain in the U.S. and continue to meet the eligibility guidelines. The deferred action granted to DACA recipients is a form of prosecutorial discretion under which removal actions against recipients are deferred in two-year periods as long as the recipients continue to renew their status. However, DACA does not offer a path to citizenship for recipients.
Eligibility for DACA
To be eligible for DACA, people must meet the following requirements:
- Entered the country when younger than age 16
- Under 31 on June 15, 2012
- Continuous residence in the U.S. from June 15, 2007 on
- Entry into the U.S. without inspection occurred prior to June 15, 2012, or a prior legal status had expired by June 15, 2012
- Physical presence in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time the DACA application is submitted
- Current student, high school graduate, GED recipient, or have received an honorable discharge from a branch of the U.S. armed forces or U.S. Coast Guard
- No serious misdemeanor convictions, no felony convictions, and no more than three minor misdemeanor convictions
- Presence in the U.S. does not threaten public safety or national security
- 15 or older at the time of the application or under 15 if in removal proceedings, have received a final order of removal, or have received a voluntary departure order
People who meet the eligibility criteria for the DACA program can apply for relief with the USCIS by filing a Form I-821D Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals petition, a Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, and a Form I-765WS Worksheet. Applicants must also submit documentary proof of their identity, their age at the time of entry into the U.S., their immigration status, their presence in the U.S. as of June 15, 2012, their continuous U.S. residence since June 15, 2007, their educational status as a current student, high school graduate, or GED recipient, and/or proof they were honorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces or U.S. Coast Guard.
A New York DACA lawyer at Oltarsh & Associates can help you determine the types of supporting evidence to submit with your application. Finally, you must also submit the filing fee at the time of your initial application and when it is time to renew your DACA status.
A U.S. District Court in Texas issued an injunction in Texas v. United States on July 16, 2021 and held that DACA is unlawful. However, the court allowed DACA to continue for current DACA recipients and continued DACA renewals. In its order, the court set aside the Department of Homeland Security’s 2012 memorandum that established DACA and the program, and it remanded it back to DHS for the agency to comply with the order.
The injunction was stayed by the court for people who are already DACA recipients. Current recipients are allowed to submit renewal applications to the USCIS, and the USCIS can process those requests. People who currently have DACA will not have it terminated because of the court’s order.
While eligible people who have not received DACA can continue to submit first-time requests, and the USCIS can accept them, the government cannot approve any requests filed after July 16. 2021. People can apply for DACA and employment authorization, but the USCIS cannot currently process and approve their applications.
On July 17, 2021, President Biden announced that his administration will appeal the decision by the U.S. District Court in Texas to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Oltarsh & Associates will keep people apprised of future decisions about the DACA program.
Talk to a New York DACA Lawyer at Oltarsh & Associates
While DACA is a positive step, it still carries risks. The recent court decision out of Texas also poses a threat to the program. Before you submit an initial application to the USCIS for relief through DACA or file a renewal petition, you should consult with an experienced New York immigration lawyer at Oltarsh & Associates. Call us today at (212) 944-9420 to request a consultation.