On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization. The application period for this relief has now opened. Immigration attorneys at Wiley & Jobson are now filing applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA.

You may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Work Authorization

Under existing regulations, an individual whose case has been deferred is eligible to receive employment authorization, or a work permit, for the period of deferred action, provided he or she can demonstrate “an economic necessity for employment.” An applicant will establish this need by completing and including the I-765 Worksheet along with their application for deferred action.

Prior Removal or Deportation Order

This process is open to any individual who can demonstrate he or she meets the guidelines for consideration, including those who have never been in removal proceedings as well as those in removal proceedings, with a final order, or with a voluntary departure order. The guidelines specify that an individual with a prior deportation or removal order should first apply for deferred action, and then seek to reopen and terminate any prior proceedings.

Age Requirement

If you have never been in removal proceedings, or your proceedings have been terminated before your request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals, you must be at least 15 years of age or older at the time of filing and meet the other guidelines. However, if you are in removal proceedings, have a final removal order, or have a voluntary departure order, and are not in immigration detention, you can request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals even if you are under the age of 15 at the time of filing and meet the other guidelines.

In all instances, you cannot be the age of 31 or older as of June 15, 2012, to be considered for deferred action for childhood arrivals.

Criminal History

If you have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or three or more other misdemeanor offenses not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct, you will not be considered for deferred action under the new process except where DHS determines there are exceptional circumstances. The guidelines indicate that a “significant misdemeanor offense” is an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; or one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of more than 90 days. The sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and therefore does not include a suspended sentence.

If you have any criminal history, you are strongly advised to seek the advice of counsel prior to applying for deferred action.

If you have any questions or would like assistance in your application for deferred action, please contact us to arrange a consultation.