DACA Initial Order and Renewal Attorneys
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who arrived in the United States as undocumented children. This program has been in near-constant peril since its creation in 2012, as it essentially ends up a political pawn whenever there’s an administration changeover. However, it offers important protections to many and there are numerous advocates fighting for it to remain in place.
If you qualify for DACA or are currently part of the program, let’s talk about your options and the protections that may be available to you. Call Castillo & Associates at 800-497-9774 to set up a consultation now.
What is DACA?
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy offers relief to people who were brought to the United States as children and remain as undocumented immigrants. The program aims to prevent deportation for those who meet strict requirements, as they did not have a choice when entering the country illegally and have lived their entire lives here. It’s important to note that DACA does not change one’s undocumented status to a lawful status—it simply offers a work permit, Social Security number, and protection from deportation for two years.
Benefits of DACA and How You Qualify
When you are part of the DACA program, you are protected from deportation for a period of two years. Assuming you continue to meet the requirements of the program, you may renew every two years indefinitely. Since the program allows you to obtain a work permit, you can find gainful employment in the United States. With a Social Security number, it’s easier to get a driver’s license and attend college as an undocumented immigrant. Note, though, that DACA recipients do not qualify for federal financial aid.
DACA recipients must meet strict requirements to maintain their status. These requirements include:
- Younger than the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
- Arrived in the United States prior to 16th birthday
- In the United States on June 15, 2012 and while applying for DACA
- Is attending school or has already graduated from high school or earned a GED
- If not meeting this requirement, may be an honorably discharged veteran of the Armed Forces or Coast Guard
- Is not a threat to national security or general public safety
- Has not been convicted of a felony
- Has not been convicted of certain disqualifying misdemeanors
Applying for DACA
First, note that the DACA program is not currently accepting applications. The Department of Homeland Security is currently prohibited from processing current applications, although it is still processing renewals and advance parole for current DACA recipients. However, this could always change. If you plan on submitting a DACA request if or when the program opens back up, it is important to be prepared. Required documentation includes:
- Proof of current immigration status, such as an order for removal proceedings, a final order for deportation, or Form I-94
- Proof of identity, including a photo ID, birth certificate, or other government-issued identifying documents
- Proof that you were in the United States on June 15, 2012 and proof that you have lived in the country since five years prior to that date
- Proof of student status or honorable discharge from the military
Renewing Your DACA Status
If you have been approved for DACA, it’s important to keep up with your renewals. You can renew your status every two years. You are permitted to start the renewal process 180 days prior to expiration of your current DACA approval. Submit your renewal documents no later than 120 days prior to expiration of your status.
You may not qualify for renewal if anything regarding your status has changed. That is, if you have been convicted of a felony or of certain disqualifying misdemeanors, your renewal application may be denied. You may also be denied if you are considered a threat to public safety or national security.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney – The DACA program is one that is constantly in transition. This makes it difficult for would-be applicants and recipients to know what their rights are, how they can protect those rights, and what their options are for remaining in the country. When you meet with our team of immigration attorneys, we will help you weigh your options and move forward.
Find Out How We Can Help You—Call Castillo & Associates Now
We understand that immigration issues can be incredibly stressful, especially if you are here as an undocumented immigrant. Discuss your DACA case and learn more about your options now with a consultation at Castillo & Associates. Send us a message online or call us at 800-497-9774 to get started.