Protection For Young Immigrants
DACA, an acronym for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a policy that protects around 800,000 young people — known as “DREAMers” — who entered the United States unlawfully as children.
The program does not grant them official legal status or a pathway to citizenship, but it does allow them to apply for a driver’s license, social security number, and work permit.
DACA Supporting Documents
USCIS recommends DACA recipients submit their renewal requests between 120 and 150 days before their current DACA expires.
Who is Eligible for DACA?
Because DACA is meant to benefit immigrants who came to the United States as children, only individuals who arrived in the country before their sixteenth birthday are eligible. Applicants must be at least 15 when they apply and have been under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012.
They must also be living in the United States when submitting their request for deferred action and must have lived continuously in the country since June 15, 2007. DACA also requires applicants to be in school, a high school graduate or holder of a high school completion certificate or GED, or an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or Coast Guard.
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What is The Application Process?
Anyone who meets DACA’s requirements may file for deferred action, even if they have been or are currently involved in deportation proceedings or have a final removal or voluntary departure order. Applicants must submit a series of forms to USCIS. Part of the application process involves presenting documentation proving they meet the program’s requirements.
What Doesn’t DACA do?
Deferred action does not grant permanent resident status to approved applicants, nor does it provide a path to citizenship. It also does not convey lawful status to an individual, which is a governmental classification required to be eligible to apply for some other forms of immigration status.
DHS also retains the right to terminate someone’s deferred action at any time. Submitting a request for deferred action does not necessarily protect applicants from deportation, but USCIS indicated in the past that the agency would not share an applicant’s information with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
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