The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is an immigration policy signed into law in 2012 by President Obama. The program allows undocumented children who arrive in the United States at a young age illegally to remain in the United States. Receiving a deferred action ground through DACA is temporary. Children with DACA status aren’t on the path to U.S. citizenship or permanent residency.
Approximately 700,000 people in the United States have DACA status. Do you or your loved one have DACA status and would like to become a U.S. citizen? Would you like to obtain DACA status? If so, Attorney Ronald L. Freeman of the Law Offices of Ronald L. Freeman is here to help. He has helped many inland-area clients with a wide variety of immigration issues, including the DACA program. Contact him today to schedule your initial consultation.
What Is the DACA Program?
The DACA program does not place individuals on a path to citizenship. Instead, it’s a form of discretionary relief offered through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Obtaining DACA status delays any actions to remove undocumented immigrants from the United States for two years, subject to renewal. This doesn’t provide young immigrants with legal status within the United States, but it does offer them a temporary fix for two years at a time.
DACA recipients can apply to renew their status and should submit the request within 120 days before their current role period expires. If you are a current participant, you can find your expiration date on the front of your Employment Authorization Card. If you are concerned about whether USCIS will renew your DACA status, we recommend discussing your case with an experienced immigration lawyer.
The DACA program provides work authorization and temporary protection from deportation to young, undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors. Many beneficiaries have enjoyed an increase in employment opportunities and have participated in higher education due to their DACA status. Obtaining DACA status in the United States means that the individual can:
- Legally reside in the United States
- Receive protection against deportation
- Legally work and receive unemployment benefits
- Obtain higher education
- Open bank accounts
- Apply for credit cards
- Obtain health insurance benefits
- Obtain a driver’s license in most states
- Obtain a Social Security Number
- Participate in the community by becoming politically active or volunteering
DACA is available to people living in the United States who meet the program requirements. Individuals who are currently involved in removal proceedings, are detained, or have already had a final removal or voluntary departure order can apply for DACA. Similarly, those who have never had any contact with immigration authorities can apply. The individual will need to demonstrate that they need the seven program requirements stated to achieve DACA status.
First, the applicant must have been under 31 years of age as of June 15th, 2012, when President Obama announced the DACA program. In other words, the person must be born after June 15th, 1981. The applicant must have entered the United States before turning 16 years old. The applicant must have continuously resided in the United States from June 15th, 2007, until the present.
Applicants must have been physically present in the United States on June 15th, 2012. Additionally, they must be physically present in the United States when requesting DACA. As of June 15th, 2012, the applicant must have been considered undocumented. The applicant must be currently enrolled in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a certificate of completion, or have been honorably discharged from the US armed forces or Coast Guard.
Finally, the applicant cannot have been convicted of a felony offense as an adult, a significant misdemeanor offense, or three or more non-significant misdemeanor offenses. The applicant cannot pose a threat to the public safety or national security of the United States. If you have questions about whether you or your child qualifies for the program, attorney Ronald L. Freeman would be happy to discuss your case with you and answer any questions you have.
Applying for DACA Status
Individuals who meet the eligibility requirements discussed above can apply for DACA status. Unfortunately, even if you meet all of these requirements, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may not grant your application. Working with an experienced immigration lawyer can help you increase your chances of obtaining DACA status.
If you do not fill out the required forms correctly, or you don’t include all the documents in your application that are required, your application could be delayed. Attorney Ronald L. Freeman has an in-depth understanding of the eligibility requirements and the application process and will help you submit a thorough and complete application. To apply, you must:
- Submit Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, to the USCIS
- Submit Forms I-765 and I-765WS to obtain a work permit
- Prove an economic need for employment
- Include two photographs that meet passport requirements
- Include copies of any foreign passports and former visas
- Include your birth certificate along with a translation if it is not in English
- Include your criminal record, including any traffic violations
- Include copies of diplomas, school records, and GED certificate if applicable
- Include a copy of your military records if applicable
- Include proof that you entered the United States before age 60
- Pay the $465 filing fee
Contact Our Riverside and San Bernardino DACA Lawyer Today
Do you have questions about the DACA program, your case, or our legal services? The Law Offices of Ronald L. Freeman assists clients with a full range of immigration issues, including child immigration (DACA). Contact our office today to schedule your free initial consultation at our Riverside or San Bernardino office.