[This Program may be cancelled soon due to the Election of President Trump. Those with DACA will likely be unable to renew this status in the future under President Trump.]
Dream Act Law provisions made effective by President Obama /
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA)
The Obama administration announced on Friday June 15, 2012 that it would no longer seek the removal of many young undocumented immigrants. Instead immigration authorities are allowing such persons to apply for “Deferred Action” from removal, renewable every three (3) years, which will provide for a means to apply for a Work Authorization Document (also known as an EAD card) and a valid Social Security Card.
USCIS began accepting applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on August 15, 2012. In practical terms this will pave the way for eligible young immigrants to come out of the shadows and,
- Obtain a valid Social Security number,
- Obtain a valid state driver’s license,
- Work legally and pay income tax, and
- Attend high school and college.
Who will Qualify:
In a memorandum to immigration enforcement officials, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano wrote that immigrants who were illegally brought to the United States as children "lacked the intent to violate the law," and pose few national security risks.
The memo said the government would offer Deferred Action to immigrants who met 5 criteria:
- Have entered the United States under the age of 16,
- Be currently enrolled in school, have graduated high school (or GED), OR willing and eligible to serve in the military,
- Have been in the United States since June 15, 2007, AND
- Have a minimal criminal record. (No felonies, DUI's, or high-level misdemeanors. Minor traffic and most minor misdemeanor crimes should not cause a problem.)
It is very important to have your case handled by an experienced immigration attorney. Applicants that do not meet these criteria may be placed into removal proceedings and deported from the United States. If you apply for Deferred Action without consulting a lawyer first, damage may be done that cannot be undone.
“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Napolitano. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.” This memorandum gives no substantive right, immigration status or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.
It is important to understand that this is only a change in existing policy. Relevant federal agencies already possessed these powers, only a willingness to implement them was lacking. The best way to think about this policy shift is a band-aid over a gaping wound, but a band-aid that will in the short term allow many of the most vulnerable and blameless undocumented immigrants live a more normal life until a permanent solution to fix our country’s broken immigration system is implemented.