DACA has provided opportunities and protections to 1.3 million recipients since it was established in 2012. However, immigration laws pertaining to DACA often change, making it crucial to keep yourself updated on the matter. Our immigration team explains what DACA is, eligibility requirements, the program's current state, and steps towards citizenship.
In 2012, former President Barack Obama established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, commonly known as “DACA.” The program provides recipients with educational opportunities and employment authorization. DACA also offers young immigrants temporary protection from deportation. The policy currently protects around 700,000 youths, referred to as “Dreamers.”
DACA applicants are held to strict requirements and must provide substantial documentary evidence for the following criteria;
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the U.S. before turning 16;
- Have continuously resided in the U.S. from June 15, 2007, to the present.;
- Were undocumented as of June 15, 2012;
- Were physically present in the U.S on June 15, 2012, and at the time of the application requesting with USCIS;
- Must be currently enrolled in school, have received a high school diploma or GED school, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces; and
- Have never been convicted of a felony offense or a significant misdemeanor, and don’t pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Financial Impact on the Nation
According to research from the American Action Forum (AAF), DACA recipients contribute around $3.4 billion to the federal balance sheet annually and, as of 2017, have contributed nearly $42 billion to the nation’s GDP.
The Current State of DACA
On September 5, 2017, The Trump administration announced the end of DACA. Subsequently, several lawsuits and complaints were filed to combat the decision. Since then, the program has undergone various changes and alterations. The Biden administration is currently setting regulations to protect the original program set in place by the Obama administration in 2012. Very little information has been provided to the public in 2022 regarding the program's current state, leaving many in limbo.
In addition to COVID-19 related delays, most USCIS centers take up to 3.5 months to renew DACA starting with the Trump administration status for previous recipients. It is vital to stay on top of your expiration date and understand your renewal window. With changes being made so often, it is strongly advised that you seek the guidance of an immigration attorney. An immigration attorney will be able to keep you informed on the current state of DACA and create a strategy to ensure you do not miss any important deadlines.
Your Path Towards Citizenship
Though DACA does not provide a clear path to citizenship, becoming a U.S. citizen is possible. Recipients may be able to apply for permanent resident legal status. Keep in mind that simply applying for DACA may expose you to being in the country illegally. If you do not to meet the DACA criteria, you could wind up in removal proceedings. An immigration attorney will be able to assess your particular situation and advise the course of action necessary to keep you protected.
How Yacub Law Offices Can Help
Immigration law is ever-changing, and it is essential to have a knowledgeable team on your side. If you are a recipient of DACA and need assistance pursuing citizenship, contact Yacub Law Offices today! We will guide you through the citizenship process from start to finish.
To find out more about how we can help you, contact us today through our website or give us a call at (703) 552-5051 to schedule a consultation!