Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

USCIS has announced that beginning August 15, 2012, certain people who came the United States as children and meet several other requirements are eligible to file for Deferred Action and possibly obtain employment authorization.  The total filing fees for these applications are $465.00.

Deferred action allows an individual to remain in the US without accruing unlawful presence. It is a decision by the Department of Homeland Security not to remove or deport a person.  Deferred action does not grant any lawful status nor does it forgive prior unlawful presence. However, those individuals granted deferred action are eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), commonly known as work authorization.

Requirements

According to USCIS1, applying for this form of prosecutorial discretion is available to those who:

    • You were born after June 15, 1981;
    • Arrived in the US before the age of 16;
    • Have continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007;
    • Were present in the US on June 15, 2012;
    • Entered without inspection (EWI) before June 15, 2012 or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
    • Are currently in school, graduated or received a certificate of completion from high school, obtained a general education development certificate (GED), or that you are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or US Armed Forces; and
    • Have NOT been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or multiple misdemeanors.

USCIS: Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process Video

If you think you may be eligible for this form of relief, please contact one of the immigration attorneys at LaFountain & Wollman, P.C. to set up a free half hour consultation to discuss your case. Remember, an immigration lawyer is well versed in the acceptable forms of evidence required by USCIS.  Further, if you have had any contact with law enforcement, it is important to have your case screened by an experienced immigration attorney.  Even if the judge, or your criminal defense attorney, said you wouldn’t have a record, or this wouldn’t effect your employment, there may still be immigration consequences.  Only a competent and experience immigration lawyer can properly evaluate your case and identify any potential risks.

1 The criteria listed herein, and more information regarding this program is published by USCIS at www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.