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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

DACA Attorneys in Chicago, IL.

What is DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced several important changes to the program known as “DACA” (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). These changes expand eligibility for the program. If your application is approved, you will be granted “deferred action” for three years, which means the government will not take action to remove you from the United States, and you will be given a work permit. “DACA” is not permanent residency, nor is it a path to permanent residency, and it does not give an individual permission to travel outside of the United States and then reenter.

Eligibility

Under these new guidelines, you will be eligible for DACA if you:

-Entered the United States before January 1, 2010 and have lived in the United States continuously since that time;
-Entered the Unites States before your 16th birthday;
Were physically present in the United States on  June 15, 2012 AND are physically present in the United States on the date that you apply for DACA;
-Had no legal status in the United States on June 15, 2012;
-Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completing from high school, have obtained a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or received an honorable discharge from the Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces; and
-Have not been convicted of certain crimes or have certain immigration history.

Individuals who have been convicted of certain crimes, who have been caught at the border attempting to enter the United States illegally, or who have been ordered removed (deported) in 2014 may not be eligible. If you have ever had any contact with the police or immigration authorities, you should consult with an Immigration attorney before filing any application for DAPA or any other immigration benefits.

Application

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) planned to begin accepting DACA applications under the new guidelines on February 18, 2015 (for more information, click here). However, a federal court judge has issued a preliminary injunction, blocking the federal government from implementing these changes. The injunction means that USCIS will not accept applications for DACA under the new, expanded guidelines.

Please note, individuals who currently have DACA can renew their applications, and if approved, will be granted deferred action for 3 years.

Next Steps

You should begin gathering documentation for your case. This will include proof that you have been living in the United States since before January 2010, proof that you were physically present on June 15, 2012 and proof that you are in school or have a high school degree or a GED. If you have any criminal or immigration history in the United States, you will want to consult with an immigration attorney prior to filing your application.

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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

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