DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) has been in the news so much over the past few years that it’s hard to keep track of the changes. The DACA program is not based on settled immigration law, which is why federal judges are able to keep stopping and starting and stopping it again. Until Congress finally agrees on legislation to make this program permanent, it’s important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to find out the latest about DACA, and how your specific situation fits within the current rules.
As of July 16, 2021, a Federal District Court in Texas has put the brakes on new DACA applications—sort of. While the legal battle is sorting itself out, the USCIS is still allowed to accept new DACA applications, but they will not grant any new DACA requests filed after July 16, 2021 until they get the green light from the Federal Courts. The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice—both part of the Executive Branch, which is under the President—are working to appeal the Texas Judge’s decision.
USCIS is still accepting and processing DACA and work permit renewals at this time.
Initial DACA applications are based on seven criteria:
- You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- You came to the USA before reaching your 16th birthday;
- You have continuously resided in the USA since June 15, 2007, and up to the present time;
- You were physically present in the USA on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for DACA;
- You had no lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012 (which might mean that you entered the country unlawfully, or that you used to have status but it expired before that date);
- You are currently in school, or you graduated high school, or you obtained a GED, or you are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- You have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and you are not a security threat to the USA.
If you think you or a loved one may qualify for DACA, or if you would like help renewing your application, please contact our office for a free consultation with Seth to find out what next steps you can take.