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What is DACA?

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What Are the Personal Benefits of Qualifying for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program?

Originally announced by President Obama in 2012, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an executive regulated relief program for young people who were brought to America as minors. DACA recipients would have renewable protection against deportation and qualify for a US work permit unless convicted of a significant misdemeanor criminal offense.

The program was created with the reckoning that, for many young people in danger of deportation, America was the only home they have ever known. They were brought here as children and infants through no fault of their own. It seems unjust that they should be forcibly removed from the US, their friends, their family, and their school for decisions made by their parents. As these children and infants grow older, Congress refuses to address their grievances. Many, who are now adults, will be separated from their children and loved ones without reasonable legislation.

The belief was that Congress would, as it had in the past, enact a program to extend legalization. These are ‘taxed residents’ who were brought in as infants, children, and younger adolescents. However, Congress has yet to do anything. This fear began due to misinformation about immigration prompted during the War on Terrorism in the early 2000s. Eventually, ‘hands off policies’ were tolerated in Congress, each time U.S. Representatives try to make the 1996 and 1998 anti-immigration laws less restrictive.

This DACA program, once extremely popular, somehow became controversial. The state of DACA has strangely become a hot topic for political debates from one administration to the next. In the time since its creation, there have been attempts to expand DACA, create a pathway, and to strike it down completely.

In 2001, Congress introduced a bill, called The Dream Act (DREAM: Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors). This bill, if enacted by Congress and signed by the President, would protect certain qualifying immigrants, permanently. However, in the two decades since the DREAM Bill was first drafted, DREAM has yet to gain enough support in the U. S. House of Representatives for passage. This seems due to partisan bickering, combined with the fear of taking action to legalize those who need reasonable legislation. Unlike the United States, other developed nations have taken action by enacting or maintaining less restrictive immigration law.

Throughout all of this, DACA recipients, and other children of alien parents without status are being abandoned. The nation and its people are left with a tug-of-war between political ideologies, hoping and praying that the House of Representatives will recognize their plight and provide them with a forever home in the United States.

There are significant causes for unlawful immigration. One, is the deteriorating situation created by extreme and unrighteous income gaps between the economic classes. Taxation is ignored and unavailable to fund economic and political stability. Another, is political partisanship and disinformation within Central, South, and North America, which promotes chaos and even more lawful and unlawful immigration.

Congress, as a whole, is unable to embrace common sense provided by both academics and professionals, which include immigration attorneys and experienced government agents. Efforts to misinform the public create needless delay thereby promoting more misrepresentation and victimization.

Instead, Congress now wants to prevent people with a well founded fear of persecution from seeking refuge in the United States. This seems in violation of the Geneva Convention Against Torture which was promoted as a result of the Holocaust. Some members want to trivialize those with credible fears of persecution, then blame the children of unlawful immigrants for what their parents did to try to protect them.

Who is Eligible for DACA?

Despite what seems to some as ‘unrighteous criticisms’ that DACA protects countless people undeserving of government aid, eligibility for the program is, in fact, extremely restrictive. Not just anybody can ‘successfully’ apply or file to renew DACA benefits.

What are the qualifications a person must have to be eligible for DACA?

  • Under 31 years of age on June 15th, 2012.
  • First arrived in the USA before their 16th birthday.
  • Have lived in the United States continuously since June 15th, 2007, and was physically present in the country on June 15th, 2012.
  • Entered the US illegally before June 15th, 2012, or legal status expired before that date.
  • Have graduated from high school or received an equivalent certificate (GED). Or are currently studying in school. Or honorably discharged by the US military or Coast Guard.
  • Have no felony convictions or significant misdemeanors as determined by U.S.C.I.S.

What is the Current Status of DACA in 2023?

In 2017, President Trump announced his intention to phase out DACA. The announced plan to end DACA resulted in a litany of lawsuits and strong pushback both in Washington and across the country. This was due to unlawful action to eliminate the program without reasonable notice and comment.

Though most of President Trump’s attempts to end DACA were unsuccessful, efforts by certain Republican States Attorneys General to repeatedly seek particular Federal District Court judges now result in challenged rulings that found that DACA was unconstitutional and was “created in violation of the law.” Judge Andrew Hanen’s ruling leaves DACA in a weakened state today, but actions by the Biden Administration are being challenged, as well.

If you are a current DACA recipient, you may continue to receive the benefit of deferred deportation while DACA continues to go through the legal appeals process.

However, new applicants have a challenging path forward for the time being. If you were never a DACA recipient or your DACA protections expired more than a year ago, then the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is unable to review your application nor provide you with employment authorization without a favorable court order.

DACA is in a complicated state of adjudication right now. Many who have filed may never get an answer. If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to contact our law office for a case evaluation of all of your lawful immigration options.

How Do Dreamers Renew Their DACA Status?

The USCIS is still accepting DACA renewals. We encourage you to start planning your renewal documents at least six months before the renewal date. If your renewals are a year late, the USCIS cannot review the renewal documents, and your DACA protections will likely expire in due course. So, please, take into account the importance of haste and timeliness. If you require assistance understanding the renewal process, please contact an immigration attorney without delay.

The documents required for DACA renewal include the following:

  • Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization Document. Also, a worksheet detailing your need for employment.
  • Form I-821D: Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
  • Proof of identity (driver’s license, passport, military ID, birth certificate, etc.).
  • A scheduled biometrics appointment at a USCIS office for fingerprinting and background checks.
  • Proof that you came to the US before age 16.
  • Proof of residence in the US before age 16.
  • Proof of continuous residency in the US since June 2007.
  • Proof of high school diploma, GED, or continuing education.
  • The necessary USCIS fee of $495.
  • If applicable, bring proof of honorable discharge from the Coast Guard or military.

Do You Need an Immigration Attorney?

While it is not absolutely necessary to retain legal counsel for your DACA case, we highly recommend that you consider speaking with a lawyer. Immigration courts can be a complicated and unforgiving system. The cost of getting things mixed up or delivered late can be harsh and unforgiving, potentially even resulting in removal proceedings.. And with the constantly shifting state of oppression due to American politics, it is wise to always remain on top of new developments.

At the Law Offices of Kevin Dixler, our legal team is well-versed in helping clients through the complexities of the US immigration system. If you are looking to renew your DACA status or you have any questions relating to DACA, please contact our law firm to schedule your initial case evaluation. 312-588-0500.

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