What is DACA?
DACA is a form of Prosecutorial Discretion (PD) created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for certain people who came to the U.S. as children. Essentially, DACA protects certain individuals from being placed in Removal Proceedings, who otherwise would be subject to such action. Although it does not provide lawful status (or a path to a Green Card), it is valid for a period of 2 years, is renewable and provides DACA beneficiaries with work authorization during all times that the individual remains in valid DACA status. DACA eligibility is confined to a set of specific guidelines that must be proven through documentary evidence. Contact our experienced DACA lawyers in NYC today to find out if you are eligible to apply for DACA.
What are the Eligibility Requirements for DACA?
In order to be eligible for DACA, you must provide evidence of all of the following:
As of June 15, 2012, you were under the age of 31;
You entered the U.S. before you turned age 16;
From June 15, 2007, until the present, (i.e., the date that you file the application), you have continuously resided in the U.S.;
On June 15, 2012, you were physically present in the U.S.;
You are physically present in the U.S. on the date that you make your request for DACA, (i.e., the date that you file the application);
On June 15, 2012, you were not in lawful immigration status (e.g., EWI, visa overstay or visa violater);
You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or 3 or more other misdemeanors, and you do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety, AND;
Education requirement - You must prove 1 of the following:
You are a student who is currently enrolled in school;
You are a High School Graduate;
You have a General Education Development (GED) certificate, OR;
You were honorably discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces.
Since September 5, 2017, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that DACA would be terminated (followed by a DHS memorandum terminating the program), DACA’s future has been uncertain. Several lawsuits were immediately filed challenging the legality of terminating DACA, and a few courts have ordered DHS to continue accepting renewal applications.
Currently, only renewal applications are being accepted as a result of a preliminary injunctions issued by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. However, this does not mean that DACA is back permanently. Rather, the judge ordered DHS to continue accepting renewal applications while the lawsuit challenging the decision to terminate DACA is litigated.
There has also been a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, against the government that says DACA is unconstitutional and should be terminated.
Although employment authorization documents (EAD) continue to be issued to DACA Beneficiary’s, the courts issuing the preliminary injunctions did not instruct DHS to also continue issuing advance parole travel documents to DACA Beneficiaries, thus those applications are still not be accepted.
So what does this mean if you are currently a DACA Beneficiary? Your EAD is still valid and you can, and should, continue to renew your DACA status if it is set to expire soon. DACA renewals, however, are not set in stone and DACA Beneficiaries should stay up-to-date with the latest DACA news.
What does this mean if you were hoping to apply for DACA for the first time? You need to wait and see if the courts will decide that the DACA program is constitutional AND the termination of DACA is unconstitutional.
The experienced immigration attorneys at the Shapiro Law Firm make sure to keep an eye on all of the current DACA litigation. Visit our blog, The ESinQuire, for updates!
Contact Us today to find out if you are eligible for DACA!
Click here to learn how to get Employment Authorization with DACA
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