The Deferred Action immigration program, commonly known as “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”, provides some protection to foreign nationals who may have entered the U.S. without proper authorization. Under the Act (DACA) qualified persons may be able to relief from removal / deportation procedures and may also be able to obtain work authorization on a temporary basis.
Who Is Eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program?
The Deferred Action immigration program applies mostly to persons who immigrated to the U.S. when they were children. Formal requirements include:
- The applicant is under age 31 as of June 15, 2012
- The applicant entered the U.S. before they were 16 years old
- The applicant was physically present in the U.S. on June 21, 2012, as well as at the time of requesting the Deferred Action application
- The applicant has resided continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, as well as up until the present
- The person entered unlawfully in the U.S. before June 15, 2012 (or their immigration status expired before this date)
- The applicant has graduated from high school (or obtained equivalent certification), or is currently in school, or was discharged honorably from the U.S. Armed Forces
- The person has not been convicted of a serious crime (i.e., felony, significant misdemeanor, or a total of 3 misdemeanors)
- The person is not considered a significant “threat” to U.S. national security
Proof of eligibility is up to the applicant. They should present any specific documents that are requested, as well as any other legal documents that may help to prove any of the requirements listed above. These usually include proofs of identity, passports, school ID’s, and others.
How Will This Program Affect Immigration Applications and Rights?
One potential area that may be affected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act is that of employment. Since the act may allow certain aliens to obtain work authorization, it may present extra challenges to both alien workers and employers.
Penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants are generally quite severe. Thus, employers should gain a full understanding of this Act, in order to understand how it affects their rights, obligations, and duties as an employer.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with the Deferred Action Program?
Immigration laws are enforced very strictly, and acts such as the DACA are no exception. You may wish to hire an immigration lawyer for help if you believe that you’re eligible for the Deferred Action program. Your attorney can assist you with the different requirements needed, and can also represent you in court if you need to make an appearance before and immigration judge or immigration panel.