Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Basics: On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced that the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be granting a temporary form of immigration protection called “deferred action” to individuals who meet requirements similar to those of the legislative proposal known as the “DREAM Act.” Those individuals granted deferred action will also be eligible to apply and obtain Employment Authorization Document (“work permits”). On August 14, 2012, DHS released instructions and applications for the program. Individuals can begin applying for relief under DACA as of August 15, 2012.
Requirements: Any individual who meets the following criteria is eligible to apply for DACA relief:
- Born on or after June 16, 1981;
- Came to the United States before their 16th birthday;
- Has continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007;
- Was present in the U.S. as of June 15, 2012;
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or her or his lawful immigration status expired before June 15, 2012;
- Is currently in school, or has graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, or a general education development certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the military;
- Has not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
- Is at least fifteen years old at the time of filing (younger persons may apply if they were already placed in removal proceedings).
What does Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals mean? Deferred action essentially means that the government knows an individual is in the country without permission but is not seeking to deport them. It allows the person to apply for a work permit, though this is not automatic. Deferred action is not permanent status and will not allow someone to eventually apply for citizenship or a green card by itself.
Call a New Jersey Immigration Attorney to discuss your eligibility for this benefit. Our office is conveniently located in Central New Jersey next to the Woodbridge Train Station.