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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)


DACA does not grant lawful status to the applicant nor does it establish a path for the person to receive a green card of obtain U.S. citizenship.  Instead, the Applicant merely receives “deferred action,” and is allowed to apply for work authorization for two years.  This two year period is renewable.  Deferred action by itself does not give a person authorization to travel.  If one is granted DACA, they may apply for advance parole based on humanitarian, educational or employment purposes.


DACA allows individuals who entered the United States before the age of 16 and were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012 to apply for deferred action.  USCIS adjudicates DACA applications through the service centers.  The applicant must be either currently enrolled in school, have graduated from school, have earned a General Equivalency Diploma (GED), or is an honorably discharged veteran.  Additionally, the applicant must have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007.  The Applicant also must be physically present in the US at the time the application for DACA was submitted.  It should be noted that DACA age limitations are not applicable to persons in removal proceedings.


Anyone convicted of a felony, “significant misdemeanor,” or three or more misdemeanors that do not arise out of the same act is ineligible for DACA.  A felony is defined as a offense punishable by imprisonment of more than one year.  A misdemeanor is defined as having a maximum term authorized of one year or less but greater than five days.  A “significant misdemeanor” generally includes domestic violence, burglary, unlawful possession or use of a firearm, driving under the influence, or drug distribution or trafficking. A significant misdemeanor may also include an offense in which the applicant was sentenced to 90 days or more in custody for any misdemeanor but not if the sentence was suspended.  In any situation however, all criminal records, including juvenile delinquency and non-significant misdemeanor convictions, will be considered under a “totality of circumstances” approach since DACA is discretionary.  Additionally, one who posses a threat to national security or public safety is ineligible.

Considering to apply or extend?

If one’s DACA application is denied, one’s case may be referred to ICE if it involves a criminal offense, fraud a threat to national security or public safety.  An individual with an arrest record should gather with an immigration attorney before submitting an I-821D for DACA.  Additionally, the evidentiary requirements for DACA involving one’s identity, presence, proof of student status as well as proof of entering before the United States before 16 may be burdensome.  In the event of a denial in one’s DACA application, one may not appeal or file a motion to reopen or reconsider.   One may however reapply.  Allow the Law Firm of Kyce Siddiqi to help you with your application.