Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as the DACA program, was created through the Department of Homeland Security. It protects immigrant youth from deportation, for those that came to the United States illegally. Many of these illegal immigrants have no connection to their country of origin. They have been raised in the United States and were unaware they were unauthorized immigrants. They become aware of their illegal status when applying for documents such as a social security card, driver’s license, or education funding.

DACA is not a permanent solution, as it is not a pathway to permanent lawful residency or United States citizenship. The granting of DACA shields those recipients from deportation for two years, at which time they can apply for a renewal. The Development, Relief, and Education for Immigrant Minors Act, known as the Dream Act, has provisions for immigrants to achieve a pathway for permanent legal status and United States citizenship. DACA recipients who have married a United States citizen or a green card holder may be eligible to adjust status for a green card for permanent legal status.

Recipients of DACA are provided with an Employment Authorization Card that legally permits them to work across the United States. Not only does this allow them to support their families, but these recipients are an essential part of the nation’s workforce for many essential industries.

The Criteria for Eligibility to become a DACA Recipient requires Documentary Evidence and includes:

  1. The applicant arrived in the United States before 16 years of age without inspection or they are an individual whose immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012. 
  2. As of June 15, 2012, they were under the age of 31.
  3. The person must have resided in the United States from June 15, 2007, up to the present time.
  4. They were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012.
  5. The applicant must be a student or have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED.
  6. They have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or more than three misdemeanors, and do not pose a threat to national security or public safety. 

A Federal Judge’s Decision on 12/4/2020 opened the Door for DACA Applicants.

The DACA program was introduced and enacted in 2012. Politically, it remains a highly controversial legal topic. In 2017, the program was terminated. However, the legal challenges that ensued allowed the program to accept renewal applications while litigation was ongoing. On 12/4/2020, a federal judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security to restore the original DACA program fully. Subsequently, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service accepts applications for new requests and renewals, including those that have expired, been rejected, or terminated, but remain eligible.

Advance Parole for DACA Recipients

DACA recipients with circumstances requiring they leave the United States and return can request advanced parole from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Grounds for advanced parole are educational opportunities, humanitarian reasons, the need to obtain medical treatment not available in the United States, or employment. An approval for advance parole is at the discretion of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Leaving the country without approval terminates DACA status.

The Law Office of Ilia Garrity Lopez, PLLC is committed to Justice for Immigrants

At The Law Office of Ilia Garrity Lopez, PLLC, we understand the stresses of the immigration process. We can answer your questions, and address your concerns and expectations. Since 2012, Attorney Ilia Garrity Lopez has been assisting clients with a full array of options to resolve their immigration issues. We remain current on the changing laws and policies of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that affect immigrant families and communities. For those persons whose applications have been denied, we can assist with reapplying. Our law firm assists with adjustment of status, advance parole, and all other immigration issues.

Let us review your eligibility for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and provide representation and guidance throughout the process. Our office is in Orlando, Florida, and we can be contacted at 407-777-7106 for a phone or videoconference.