The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program offers a way for people who came to the United States as children, and who therefore lack legal immigration status through no fault of their own, to avoid deportation. Now in its second year, DACA continues to alleviate many young immigrants’ concerns about their status in this country, which many of them have always called their home. The criteria to qualify for relief under DACA can be complicated, with many ways a person could be excluded. Immigrant advocates have developed several tools that immigrants can use to determine if they can qualify, including a mobile app that people can use on their smartphones. Determining whether or not you are eligible for DACA, of course, is only the first step, and these tools should not be viewed as a substitute for the help of an experienced immigration attorney.
The White House announced the DACA program during the summer of 2012, after multiple unsuccessful attempts by members of Congress to pass legislation offering relief to people who entered the U.S. before a certain age and are either pursuing a college education or serving in the military. Since DACA is not based on legislation passed by Congress, but rather is an action of the Executive branch of the federal government, it cannot confer any permanent changes to a person’s immigration status. A person who is eligible for DACA may receive a two-year reprieve from removal. At the end of the two-year period, the person may apply for a renewal.
DACA relief is available to people who were age thirty or younger on June 15, 2012, who entered the U.S. at or before the age of fifteen, who have continuously resided in the U.S. since at least June 15, 2007, and who meet a variety of other criteria. The person must have either entered the U.S. without inspection, or their legal immigration status must have expired prior to June 15, 2012.
Additional criteria for DACA eligibility involve education level and school enrollment, military service, prior immigration enforcement history, and prior criminal history. Numerous websites and other resources identify the various criteria, but the amount of information needed to determine eligibility can seem overwhelming. An application requires a substantial amount of both information and documentation. The American Immigration Lawyers Association, in cooperation with other advocacy groups, has released a mobile app that consolidates the DACA eligibility requirements into the form of a quiz. Users answer questions based on the criteria in order to assess their eligibility.
The immigration attorneys at Samuel C. Berger, P.C. represent immigrants and prospective immigrants who live in, or wish to move to, New York and New Jersey. We are offering discounted, flat-fee services for DACA applicants, including assessments of eligibility and preparation of applications. We help immigrants obtain visas and green cards through family or employment, and we help families and businesses petition on behalf of immigrant loved ones or employees. Contact us today online or at (212) 380-8117 to schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our legal team.
More Blog Posts:
Immigration Reform Proposals Include Relief for New Jersey DREAMers, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, June 13, 2013
Lawmakers Introduce Immigration Reform Bill in Congress, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, April 19, 2013
New White House Immigration Policy Offers Opportunities and Risks for Young Undocumented Immigrants, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, June 21, 2012
Photo credit: By Intel Free Press [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.