Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
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IL immigration lawyerThe topic of immigration can be confusing, especially with all the terms associated with the legal process. Under U.S. immigration law, DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA is a policy that allows certain people who are in the United States unlawfully (after coming to the country as children) to receive a renewable two-year period to defer deportation and become eligible for a U.S. work permit. The current administration announced the rescission of DACA in 2017. However, some illegal aliens are still able to renew their applications through federal court orders that have allowed USCIS to resume accepting requests. It is important to note that USCIS will not accept requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferment under DACA.

Who Is Eligible for DACA?

DACA began under the Obama administration in 2012. Individuals who meet the following criteria can apply for DACA:

  • Under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012
  • Came to the United States while under the age of 16
  • Have continuously resided in the country from June 15, 2007, to the present
  • Are currently in school, have a high school diploma or GED, or was honorably discharged from the Armed Forces or Coast Guard
  • Have not been convicted of a felony offense or more than three misdemeanors
  • Do not pose a threat to national security or public safety

The Future of DACA

Although the current White House administration put a stop to DACA in 2017, advocates and states filed lawsuits challenging the decision. In January of 2018, the first federal court to consider the issue entered a preliminary injunction that allowed persons who have or had DACA to apply for renewal of their protections. The future of DACA remains uncertain, as federal courts have agreed that the termination of DACA was likely unlawful.

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Il immigration lawyerOver 700,000 people who illegally entered the U.S. prior to June 2007 and prior to age 16 have been allowed to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA began offering two-year deferrals of removal to these people in 2012 with the option of renewal every two years. Since the program was ended by executive order in 2017 and then resumed by federal court orders in early 2018, many people on DACA status have been in limbo, wondering whether they may lose their DACA status and be deported.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed in various federal district courts seeking to keep the DACA program alive. Two district courts have ordered USCIS to accept DACA renewals, and USCIS has complied with these orders on a nationwide basis. However, a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court may be necessary to determine the ultimate fate of the DACA program. At this time, a Supreme Court ruling is not expected until the first quarter of 2020 at the earliest.

Who Is Currently Eligible for DACA Renewal

As of April 2019, USCIS is only accepting renewal requests from people who were previously granted DACA status. Anyone who was not previously approved for DACA is not eligible to newly apply for it.

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Deferred Action for child, Illinois immigration, child immigrant, legal immigration, Illegal immigrationWhile immigration advocates are pressing President Obama to halt all deportations until an immigration reform bill can be passed, many immigrants that do not have legal status already have an opportunity to receive deferred status in the United States through the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) remedy. President Obama established this rule two years ago, and it allows immigrants who arrived in the United States as children to apply for a two-year deportation protected status, in addition to a work permit.

Obtaining deferred action does not bring about permanent residency or citizenship. It simply stops immigration authorities from deporting an individual who would otherwise be removable. Still, it can serve as an important tool if you or someone you know would like to stay legally in the United States and have the opportunity to work. Below is a brief explanation on who may apply for deferred action status.

Who Can Apply?

In accordance with the guidelines set forth by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an immigrant can apply for deferred status if he or she was younger than 31 years old on June 15, 2012, was younger than age 16 when he or she arrived in the United States to live, and lived in the United States since June 15, 2007. The individual also had to have been physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and he or she must be in the United States during the application process.


In addition to the above criteria, there are some limitations on the types of people that can apply as well. If the person applying for deferment has been convicted of a felony or certain types of ‘significant misdemeanors,’ he or she may not be eligible to apply.

‘Significant misdemeanor’ is not a term that is typically used in immigration law. USCIS defines a significant misdemeanor as one for which the maximum term of imprisonment is less than a year, but greater than five days and either 1) was a domestic violence, burglary, use of firearm, drug trafficking or DUI offense, or 2) was an offense in which the individual was sentenced to more than 90 days in custody. If either of these two categories is fulfilled, then that person cannot apply for the deferral.

Remember that DACA is still a relatively new policy in a time in which immigration law is becoming more and more open to change. While USCIS has stated that after the two-year time limit has passed individuals can renew for another two years, no one yet knows what effect immigration reform will have on this policy.

If you or someone you know in Illinois would like to know more information about DACA or other options for legally residing and working in the United States, contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC today.

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