Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

dacaDACA Renewal Time Is Here!

A new I-821D Form has be generated for those seeking Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and those simply renewing their DACA applications.

At Alvarez de Bennett Law, we charge the fee of $250.00 to assist previous clients in renewing their DACA applications.

Please send an email or call us at 405-232-2749 (Oklahoma City) or 918-949-4499 (Tulsa), if you would like more information about the DACA program.

About DACA Program

On June 15, 2012, immigration officials announced a new “deferred action” program that provides eligible applicants with two-year temporary legal status which may be renewed. To qualify for this deferred action program, an applicant must meet these requirements:

  1. Arrival in the U.S. before age sixteen (16).
  2. Lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, and present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012.
  3. Currently in school, OR graduated from high school, OR has a GED certificate, OR honorable discharge from the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces, OR enrolled in a credible GED certificate program.
  4. Never convicted of a felony conviction OR three or more misdemeanors, OR a single “significant” misdemeanor.
  5. No conduct posing a threat to public safety or national security.
  6. Not over age thirty-one (31) as of June 15, 2012.
  7. At least fifteen years (15) old at time of application.

For more information, visit www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals or call USCIS 1-800-375-5283.

USCIS FILING FEE – $465.00 made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

At AB Law, we represent DACA applicants on three tiers as follows (*payment plans available):
TIER 1 CASES- Attorney Fee is $800.00 (DACA applicant has records; proof of entry date; proof of physical presence; and no arrests)
TIER 2 CASES- Attorney Fee is $1,200.00 (DACA applicant lacks some of the qualifying records; proof of presence; has no serious arrests)
TIER 3 CASES- Attorney Fee is $1,600.00 (DACA applicant has at least one or more arrest for a misdemeanor that is not significant but needs an Attorney to explain the basis and equities for DACA applicant to be eligible for DACA)

The following is confirmed information we know to date: Updated information may be available on the USCIS website page devoted to this program.

Deferred Action Basics:

  • Deferred action is a temporary immigration status granted by the USCIS based on a variety of factors to those who typically lack other means of obtaining the right to remain in the United States.
  • The particular program announced on June 15, 2012 is now open to those who are in proceedings. Beginning August 15, 2012 to those who are not in proceedings and who apply affirmatively.
  • Allows those who are granted it to receive two years of protection against removal or the initiation of removal proceedings and two years of employment authorization.
  • The status is subject to renewal after two years (including renewal for those who turn 31 while in deferred action status), unless the program is terminated, but it will not lead to a path to permanent residency.
  • Is a case-by-case discretionary act on the part of the USCIS and may be terminated at any time.
  • Derivative family members (e.g., spouse and children) do not qualify for benefits unless they independently satisfy the eligibility requirements.
  • Aliens who do not meet the eligibility requirements for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program may nevertheless qualify for deferred action based on humanitarian factors under the Service’s preexisting program. Those who do not qualify or were denied and who are in proceedings or subject to a removal order may request that ICE exercise prosecutorial discretion under its June 2011 memorandum.

Deferred Action Details:

  • Deferred action tolls the running of any unlawful presence for those who apply for and are granted the status, but does not excuse any unlawful presence accrued previously. Those who apply after turning 18 will continue to accrue unlawful presence while their application is pending; those who apply while under 18 will not accrue unlawful presence during this process.
  • Deferred action is not considered lawful immigration status. This may be significant in a number of ways. For example, aliens in the family preference categories who were inspected and admitted may apply for adjustment of status under INA § 245(a) when their priority date is current, but not if they were ever in unlawful immigration status.
  • After being granted deferred action, the alien may be considered for employment authorization upon a showing of economic necessity (unlike TPS where the EAD may be granted while the TPS application is pending)

Eligibility Details:

  • To satisfy the continuously residing requirement, applicants may have taken brief, casual, and innocent departures during the five-year period before June 15, 2012 or during the two-month period between June 15 and August 15, 2012. To qualify as brief, casual, and innocent, the absence must have been: (1) short, (2) reasonably calculated to accomplish the trip?s purpose, (3) voluntary and not in response to a removal order or voluntary departure order from an immigration judge or administrative grant of voluntary departure in lieu of being placed in proceedings, and (4) the purpose must have been lawful.
  • Applicants must not have traveled outside the United States after August 15, 2012
  • Applicants must have entered without inspection or, if they entered with inspection, their immigration status must have expired as of June 15, 2012
  • Applicants must not have been in any lawful immigration status (e.g., TPS or U visa) on June 15, 2012 or on the date of applying for deferred action. Applicants for asylum, withholding of removal, or cancelation of removal are not considered to be in lawful immigration status unless they are also present in valid nonimmigrant status.
  • One conviction of a felony will disqualify the applicant. That is defined as a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year. Immigration-related offenses characterized as felonies under state laws will not disqualify the applicant.
  • One conviction of a significant misdemeanor will disqualify the applicant. This is defined under federal law as a criminal offense for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days and involves domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, burglary, unlawful possession or use of a firearm, drug distribution or trafficking, or driving under the influence. It also includes any convictions where the alien was sentenced to time to be served in custody of more than 90 days.
  • Convictions for three or more non-significant misdemeanors not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct will also disqualify the applicant. A non-significant misdemeanor is defined under federal law as a criminal offense for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days and does not involve domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, burglary, unlawful possession or use of a firearm, drug distribution or trafficking, or driving under the influence. The alien must have been sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or less. Minor traffic offenses such as driving without a license will not be considered a misdemeanor.
  • Applicants deemed to be a national security or public safety threat will be disqualified. This includes those who have been involved in gang membership and those who have participated in criminal or other activity that threatens the United States. Applicants who can demonstrate exceptional circumstances may nevertheless be granted deferred action.
  • Those granted deferred action may then apply for advance parole on Form I-131 (fee is $360). The desired trip must be for humanitarian, educational, or employment purposes. Applicants for deferred action may not apply simultaneously for advance parole, but must wait for the deferred action to be granted.

For more information on the deferred action for childhood arrivals process please visit www.uscis.gov.

Over the past three years, this Administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to transform the immigration enforcement system into one that focuses on public safety, border security and the integrity of the immigration system. As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety, including individuals convicted of crimes with particular emphasis on violent criminals, felons, and repeat offenders, DHS will exercise prosecutorial discretion as appropriate to ensure that enforcement resources are not expended on low priority cases, such as individuals who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines. Individuals who demonstrate that they meet the guidelines below may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and may be eligible for employment authorization.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Author: Janell Carpenter

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