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How has President Obama’s Executive Action affected the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program?

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced that he will take certain executive actions on immigration in the absence of a Congressional fix to our immigration system. See our blog post summarizing his entire announcement here. One of the changes President Obama announced is the expansion of the June 15, 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or “DACA” program.


Am I eligible for DACA under the new expansion?

If you meet the following requirements, you may be eligible to apply:

  1. You entered the U.S. before the age of 16, regardless of how old you were in June 2012 or are today;
  2. You have continuously resided in the U.S. since January 1, 2010, rather than June 15, 2007; and
  3. You already meet all the existing DACA requirements regarding education, military service, and criminal history.
      • Education or Military Service: You are i) currently in school, ii) have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, iii) have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or iv) are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
      • Criminal History: You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. In other words, you are not an ‘enforcement priority.’

     

+ How do I know if I’m an enforcement priority?

+ Oh no! I might be a priority for enforcement. What can I do?

In other words, if you arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 (no matter your current age, so long as you arrived before January 1, 2010), have been continuously residing in the U.S. ever since, and are not a priority for enforcement, you should be eligible for DACA.


What are the benefits of DACA?

  1. You will be granted deferred action (preventing you from being deported).
  2. You will be given work authorization for three years.
  3. You can apply for a social security number.
  4. You can apply for advance parole (travel authorization outside of the U.S.).

The three-year increments are renewable and will be applicable to all first-time applications and to individuals seeking renewal as of November 24, 2014. Prior to President Obama’s announcement, DACA was for periods of two years.

If you currently have DACA and need to renew, you should submit your renewal request about 120 days (4 months) before your current period of deferred action will expire. We have more information about DACA renewals here.


When can I file? And how much will it cost?

While we are still waiting to receive official guidance from USCIS, we have a few predictions.

  • We believe the cost for filing under the expanded DACA will remain at $465 to apply.
  • The new criteria for the program should be in effect by Feb. 20, approximately 90 days after President Obama’s Nov. 20 announcement.

How can I prepare?

See our prior blog posting on preparing for Executive Action here. While it is not yet clear what will be required, you can start to gather certain documents that will likely be required:

Don’t forget, it is not yet possible to file an application under President Obama’s plan. Seek advice from a qualified attorney or organization accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals. Notaries or “notarios” are NOT attorneys and are NOT qualified or authorized to give immigration advice. Learn more here.

If you or a loved one may qualify for DACA or are seeking to renew your existing DACA, you can contact one of the attorneys at Minsky, McCormick and Hallagan, P.C. here.

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