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.
“Virtual cities of children are picking up and fleeing El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala—some of the most dangerous places in this hemisphere. In Washington, the story has stoked the longstanding debate over border policy. But U.S. immigration policy is just a small part of this story. Yes, the U.S. immigration system is now bottlenecked with the influx, prompting emergency response from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But changing U.S. border policy won’t stem the root of the exodus”.
Contrary to what some might say, these kids are not coming here because they want a free ride and they want to take advantage of our immigration laws. On the contrary. This is a humanitarian crisis. There is a growing number of people who are literally fleeing for their lives.
Why kids? The kids are vulnerable because they are children. And they are being targeted.
We liken the situation very much to the situation of the recruitment of child soldiers on other continents. Children are particularly vulnerable, they are susceptible to harm, they are easily terrorized, and the very fact that they are children is the single factor in the harm that they are experiencing. They are specifically being target to be recruited. They are the ones who are being bullied.
Are the children coming north on rumors that the United States will let them in, that the Obama administration has lax policies toward minors? The children are being asked the reasons why they left and what they expected. Out of 404 kids interviewed, only 9 mentioned any kind of possibility of the U.S treating kids well, from the perspective of a child. These children are also escaping to Mexico.
To find out why they are coming, what the situation is like for these kids, and what can be done, please follow this link. http://www.nationaljournal.com/domesticpolicy/why-90-000-children-flooding-our-border-is-not-an-immigration-story-20140616
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published new educational resources regarding foreign-born children present in the United States that may be in need of humanitarian protection because they have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent. Special Immigrant Juvenile status is an immigration classification that may allow for these vulnerable children to immediately apply for lawful permanent resident status.
USCIS is releasing the following educational resources about Special Immigrant Juvenile status:
– Immigration Relief for Abused Children: Information for Juvenile Court Judges, Child Welfare Workers, and Others Working with Abused Children Click Here for PDF.
– Special Immigrant Juvenile Status: Information for Child Welfare Workers Click Here for PDF.
– Special Immigrant Juvenile Status: Information for Juvenile Courts Click Here for PDF.
Children do not need to be in the foster care system to be eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile status. However, abused, neglected, and abandoned children in foster care, who do not have legal immigration status, may be eligible.