Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DACA is being litigated in federal court. Stay tuned for updates that may alter these requirements and other details.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was a program that gave non-citizens who arrived in the United States as children protection from deportation and the ability to legally work in the country.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DACA is being litigated in federal court. Stay tuned for updates that may alter these requirements and other details.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was a program that gave non-citizens who arrived in the United States as children protection from deportation and the ability to legally work in the country.

Since 2017, the Department of Homeland Security has rescinded this program. However, as this decision is before federal courts, the options for DACA recipients and individuals eligible for DACA may change.

Who was eligible for DACA?

  • You were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012.
  • You came to the United States as a child before your 16th birthday.
  • You continuously resided in the United States from June 15, 2007 until today.
  • You were in the United States on June 15, 2007.
  • You were in the United States when you made your initial request for deferred action.
  • You did not have lawful immigration status on or before June 15, 2007 (if you did, other options might be available to you, speak to your immigration attorney).
  • You had not been convicted of a felony or a significant misdemeanor.
  • You had not been convicted of three or more lesser misdemeanors.
  • You did not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
  • You also fulfilled one of the following criteria:
    • You were currently in school.
    • You graduated high school or obtained a GED certificate.
    • You were an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.

You then must continue to fulfill these requirements in order to be eligible for a DACA renewal.

Who can file an initial DACA request?

No one can currently file an initial DACA request, even if they fulfill the requirements This may change based on current litigation or if Congress passes a new law.

What are the benefits of DACA?

DACA allows you to defer deportation and will enable you to work lawfully in the United States.

What are the limits of DACA?

DACA is limited in that it does not independently offer a pathway to citizenship. Additionally, it is a temporary form of relief that must be renewed every two years. If crimes are committed after your approval, the government can revoke your status or deny your renewal application.

What has changed since Trump rescinded DACA?

In 2017, the Trump Administration, through the former Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, rescinded DACA. 

In 2018, a federal judge ordered USCIS to accept renewal requests for those who already received an initial deferral through DACA. Days later, a few states filed a lawsuit in order to stop the recission of the DACA program. These court cases are still in progress.

Who can file a DACA renewal request?

Currently, you cannot be granted a DACA renewal unless you were previously approved for  DACA in the past. If your work authorization is close to expiring, you need to file for it to be renewed. You can apply anywhere from 120 to 150 days before your DACA work authorization expires. We recommend you contact our office at least six months before your DACA work authorization expires so that we can timely file your application.

It is important to note that there is a new version of the USCIS Form I-821D that you must use in order to be considered. Using the old version of the form will cause your case to be rejected.

My deferred action under DACA has already expired or is expiring soon. Can my DACA request be expedited?

No. DACA requests cannot be expedited. It is therefore essential you contact an immigration attorney six months before your work authorization card expires to ensure there is no lapse in your employment eligibility.

Do I need a lawyer?

In most cases, a DACA renewal can be filed without an attorney’s assistance. In DACA cases, you may hire an immigration attorney for their experience or for their management of the process on your behalf. We recommend you hire a lawyer if you are facing delays in renewal request processing or have incurred any criminal history since your last DACA application.

One of the most important reasons to consult with attorneys on issues such as DACA is to be sure that you are not eligible for another permanent form of relief. Since the future of DACA is uncertain, you should pursue all other potential avenues to protect yourself.

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Disclaimer

The results of client matters depend on a variety of factors unique to each matter. Past successes do not predict or guarantee future successes.