Immigration Relief for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for First Time Applicants
Thousands of eligible children and young adults have still not applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, despite eligibility. The time to act is now.
What is Deferred Action?
Deferred action is a kind of administrative relief from deportation that has been around a long time. Through it, the Department of Homeland Security authorizes a non–U.S. citizen to remain in the U.S. temporarily. The person may apply for an employment authorization document (a “work permit”) for the period during which he or she has deferred action.
Deferred action is granted on a case-by-case basis. Even if you meet the requirements outlined below, DHS will still have to decide whether to grant you deferred action.
A grant of deferred action is temporary and does not provide a path to lawful permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship. However, a person granted deferred action is considered by the federal government to be lawfully present in the U.S. for as long as the grant of deferred action is in effect.
Who is eligible for an initial grant of DACA?
- To be eligible for deferred action under the DACA program, you must:
- Have been born on or after June 16, 1981.
- Have come to the United States before your sixteenth birthday.
- Have continuously lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007.
- Have been present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and on every day since August 15, 2012.
- Not have a lawful immigration status. To meet this requirement (1) you must have entered the U.S. without papers before June 15, 2012, or, if you entered lawfully, your lawful immigration status must have expired before June 15, 2012; and (2) you must not have a lawful immigration status at the time of your application.
- Be at least 15 years old. If you are currently in deportation proceedings, have a voluntary departure order, or have a deportation order, and are not in immigration detention, you may request deferred action even if you are not yet 15 years old.
- Have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. armed forces, or “be in school” on the date that you submit your deferred action application. See below for more information about meeting the “be in school” requirement.
- Have not been convicted of a felony offense. A felony is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
- Have not been convicted of a significant misdemeanor offense or three or more misdemeanor offenses. See below for more information about offenses that may disqualify you.
- Not pose a threat to national security or public safety. (DHS has not defined what these terms mean but has indicated that they include gang membership, participation in criminal activities, or participation in activities that threaten the U.S.)
- Pass a background check.
For more information and to see if you are eligible, please contact Donusia Lipinski at Blue Ridge Immigration Law Center, PLLC at 540 878 5740 or email her at Donusia@BRILC.net.