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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
As of August 15, 2012, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred action, on a case by case basis:
- Have come to the United States before your sixteenth birthday.
- Have continuously lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, and up to the present time.
- Be present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for deferred action.
- Not have lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012. This means 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 as of June 15, 2012.
- Be at least 15 years old, if you have never been in deportation proceedings or your proceedings were terminated. 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.
- Be 30 years old or younger as of June 15, 2012 (a person who had not yet turned 31 on that date is also eligible).
- Be in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. armed forces. If you are enrolled in school on the date that you submit your deferred action application, that will be considered to “be in school.” 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 is still defining 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.
Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action. Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today’s date. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right, immigration status, or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.
To obtain deferred action, eligible individuals must submit the I-821D “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” form. with the I-765 form requesting a work permit, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). An applicant must show an economic need for employment in order to get the work permit.
The Stilianopoulos Law Firm, P.A. is available to assist individuals with the filing and any questions related to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.