The recently announced implementation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) opens up a wonderful opportunity for young undocumented immigrants who meet the qualifying criteria, as it affords them an opportunity to obtain valid work authorization and not have to fear being placed in deportation proceedings. This is however merely a discretionary exercise of authority by USCIS (formerly INS), so DACA does not grant any status or lead to Permanent Residence (a “green card”).
In summary, you satisfy the criteria for DACA if you:
1.Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
2.Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
3.Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
4.Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
5.Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15 2012;
6.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 United States; and
7.Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
What does this entail for a DACA applicant? Each of these criteria must be individually satisfied through documentary evidence such as school diplomas, awards or certificates, hospital, doctor’s or vaccination records, church records, rental or lease agreements, bank records, pay stubs tax returns or birth certificates for children born in the U.S.A.
It is important to review your criminal record with your immigration attorney as certain offences which may appear minor or for which no jail time was served, may disqualify you for DACA. A notable example is the fact that a single DUI will be treated as a significant misdemeanor and make you ineligible for this discretionary process. The role of your immigration attorney is not simply to fill out some forms, but to review all the circumstances of your background, history and record and provide you with the best advice as to whether DACA or some other form of relief is the best option for you.
Before submitting a DACA application to USCIS, each youth should therefore carefully assess whether or not he or she meets all the required criteria, as there is no appeal from a DACA denial by USCIS but more significantly, if the information provided reveals the basis for issuance of a Notice to Appear, you may have landed yourself in deportation proceedings. The qualified immigration attorneys at The Castro Firm, Inc. remain committed to assisting and protecting as many qualified “Dreamers” as possible. Feel free to contact us at (302) 225 5700 or on the web at ThecastroFirm.com.