Other Legal Services
What Is DACA?
On June 15, 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, announced that under the presidential authority, it would grant executive action to award work permits and protection from deportation to immigrant youth residing in the U.S. who meet certain criteria.
DACA is an acronym that stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This policy currently protects around 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to the United States as a child. These young people, known as “Dreamers” were brought to the United States unlawfully as children, are given certain abilities, such as:
- Obtaining a driver’s license
- Being permitted to work in the U.S.
Who is Eligible for DACA?
To be eligible for DACA, a person who arrived illegally must:
- Have been under the age of 16 (born June 16, 1981 or after)
- Have had no lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012
- Meet education requirements (Completed high school or a GED program, have been honorably discharged from the armed forces, or are enrolled in school)
- Have been physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
- Meet continuous presence requirements (Lived in the U.S. since at least June 15, 2007)
- Meet criminal history requirements (Cannot be convicted of any felony or “serious” misdemeanors (ie, a DUI or domestic violence), three (3) or more misdemeanors that did not occur on the same day, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety).
Immigrants who are up to 31 years old can apply for the protections and opportunities this program offers.
DACA Frequently Asked Questions
Are DACA Recipients U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents?
No. Although they are considered to be in “lawful presence” while they have DACA, DACA is not considered a “lawful status” per se which could allow them to change status to a work visa, for example.
Does DACA Provide a Path to a Green Card?
No. However, DACA status does allow a person to qualify for Advance Parole, which in certain circumstances can be used to “fix” a person’s unlawful entry for qualification for a green card. For example, if a person who entered unlawfully later obtains Advanced Parole under DACA and travels, they could potentially adjust status to a Lawful Permanent Resident in the future if they marry a US Citizen spouse or wait until their US born child turns 21 to petition them.
Are DACA students Eligible for Financial Aid?
DACA students are not eligible for federal financial aid. That being said, some states and colleges do offer financial assistance to them, and DACA recipients are eligible for private scholarships.
Are DACA Recipients Able to Travel?
DACA recipients can travel domestically with a valid identification. Further, they can also travel internationally after they apply for and receive approval of Advance Parole. To qualify, they need to show evidence that they need to travel for work-related, educational, or humanitarian purposes. Vacation or leisurely travel is not considered a valid purpose under Advance Parole, and it is up to the discretion of the government how long a person can remain outside the country and whether it is for multiple trips or only one.
Can a DACA Recipient Qualify for Medicaid?
Currently, only three (3) states, including California, Minnesota and New York, provide Medicaid to DACA recipients who meet income requirements.
Important Updates to DACA
The DACA program has been controversial since Obama signed it into law, and politicians and judges have changed the program several times since its inception. On Sept. 5, 2017, former President Trump tried to end the program, and stopped any new applications and travel under the program.
Effective December 7, 2020
- Accepting first-time requests for consideration of DACA based on the terms set prior to September 5, 2017
- Accepting DACA renewal requests based on policy set prior to September 5, 2017
- Accepting applications for advance parole documents based on the terms of the DACA policy set prior to September 5, 2017
- Extending 1 year grants to 2 years
- Extending 1 year employment authorization documents under DACA to two years
Effective July 2021
- A federal judge has ruled that first-time DACA applicants are barred from applying to the program
- All individuals whose DACA requests were approved prior to July 16, 2021 will continue to have DACA status
- All DACA requests that were approved before July 16, 2021 will continue to be eligible to renew DACA and DACA work permits
- DHS will continue to accept the filing of initial DACA and employment authorization requests, but can’t approve initial DACA and EAD requests
How An Immigration Lawyer Can Help
A quality immigration lawyer can help you win your DACA case. It is estimated that there are 1.8 million people who are eligible for DACA, and only around 800,000 have taken advantage of this program. An immigration lawyer can:
- Review your qualifications to ensure that you qualify for DACA
- Help you fill out the required immigration forms
- Help you put together strong evidence to show you qualify, such as proof that you: Came to the U.S. before age 16 and before June 15, 2007, still qualify despite brief absences from the U.S. since 2007, were here on June 15, 2012 but did not have lawful status on that day, meet the educational requirements, are not barred by your criminal history, etc.
- Help you present your best case possible
Need Help With Your DACA Case? Hire a Top Immigration Lawyer in Miami, Florida
Do you need help with your DACA case? You’ve come to the right place. Immigration Lawyers USA are top immigration lawyers in Miami, Florida and are able to help you navigate the complexities of the ever-changing DACA Program. If you need legal counsel to fight for your rights under this program or to help you see if you qualify for any other immigration relief, give Immigration Lawyers USA a call at 305-501-0783 or contact us here to schedule your consultation.