What is Deferred Action?

photo by Jordan Fischer, licensed with Creative Commons

photo by Jordan Fischer, commercial use license through Creative Commons

Back in June of 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new program allowing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

This is NOT a visa or legal relief granting status, but for people who were brought to the United States (US) as children, it means DHS will not prosecute them. Generally, these people were brought here without the choice, and have grown up as Americans, speaking English, going to school, and otherwise have no real pathway to attain legal status. However, only certain people will qualify.

Specifically, you must have been born after June 16, 1981, have arrived in the US before you turned 16, have continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007, and were physically present in the US on June 15, 2012. You also must have come here without inspection or had your legal status expire before June 15, 2012.

Finally, you must be in school, graduated from high school or its equivalent, or a veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces, and have no convictions for felonies or significant misdemeanors, or less than three misdemeanors altogether.

And of course, you must pose no threat to national security, which means terrorists need not apply.

These rules can be a bit difficult to navigate, especially because of what immigration cases define as “continuous” or “significant.” There are also certain events that can render physical presence void. Additionally, DHS does not just accept the applicant’s word for it; each of these qualifications requires proof in the form of certain types of documentation.

An attorney can help with successfully navigating the qualifications and filing an application for DACA relief. If you think you qualify for this relief, feel free to contact me for assistance in preparing the forms and assembling the right evidence.


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