Our current political climate has brought immigration and immigrant rights to the forefront of the national conversation. These conversations bring in a lot of technical legal terms that are often hard to understand for the average American. Being one of those Americans, I decided to research one of the most mentioned terms — DACA.
What is DACA
DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It is an immigration policy that allows certain undocumented individuals who were brought into the United States illegally as children to gain access to a two-year period free from deportation from the country. This two-year period is eligible for renewal. DACA recipients are also able to receive a work permit to continue working in the United States.
The DACA policy was announced by the Obama Administration in June 2012, and the administration began accepting DACA applications in August of that year.
Who is Eligible for DACA?
DACA is only available for those who meet the following requirements:
- Under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012
- Were under 16 years old when they came to the United States
- Lived in the United States continuously from June 15, 2007 to the present
- Were living in the United States as of June 15, 2012
- Entered the United States before June 15, 2012
- Currently in school, graduated from high school, earned a GED, or were honorably discharged from the military
Applicants also must not have been convicted of a felony or three or more misdemeanors.
Current Status of DACA
In September 2017, the Trump Administration announced that it would be ending the DACA program. This decision was met with a lot of opposition from immigrant rights activists and DACA recipients themselves. Several lawsuits were filed challenging the administration’s decision.
As of today, individuals can still renew their original DACA status to avoid being deported from the United States and to earn a work permit.
Renewing one’s DACA application is a long process requiring that individuals fill out certain forms. Those looking to renew their DACA application should download a copy of their previous application to give them something to go off of when they fill out their renewal application. Individuals should then download up to date forms from the United States Citizenships and Immigration Services webpage.
Next, the individual should take time to fill out the form accurately to ensure that their application is accepted. An immigration attorney, like the attorneys working at The Law Office of William Jang, PLLC, is the best person to speak to help you fill out the application. Attorneys are well-versed in the information required as well as the eligibility requirements needed to even apply in the first place.
I hope the information presented in this article helped you understanding one facet of the United States immigration system. While DACA is only one aspect of the system, it is one of the most discussed today. Use this information as a springboard for your own learning, and use it to educate others on the processes that may affect us or those we know.