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What young people need to know about DACA

As we discussed back in June, while the 4-4 decision reached by the Supreme Court of the United States in U.S. v. Texas affirmed an existing injunction barring implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, it had no effect on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as introduced back in 2012.

As such, those young people who meet the program's initial requirements are still permitted -- and actively encouraged by USCIS -- to try to seek relief under the program. In light of this reality, today's post will start taking a closer look at these initial requirements in order to help young people better understand their options.

Before delving into the initial requirements, however, it's important to establish what exactly the DACA program can do for young people or, in other words, the benefits of receiving deferred action from USCIS.

If USCIS grants an applicant deferred action under the DACA program, it doesn't mean that they have lawful status. Rather, it means that they cannot be removed from the country or placed into removal proceedings for two years (unless terminated), and are eligible for work authorization. In addition, those granted deferred action are also able to renew their status for two years at a time.

As for the DACA program's initial requirements, they include the following:

  • Applicants must have been under the age of 31 and had no lawful status on June 15, 2012.
  • Applicants must have come to the U.S. prior to their 16th birthday.
  • Applicants must have been continuously present in the U.S. from June 15, 2007 through the present.
  • Applicants must have been physically present in the U.S. on both June 15, 2012 and the date on which the DACA application is filed.
  • Applicants must currently be enrolled in school, graduated from high school, earned a GED certificate or been honorably discharged from the armed forces (i.e. a veteran).
  • Applicants must have not a conviction for a felony or significant misdemeanor, or convictions for three or more misdemeanors on their record.
  • Applicants must not pose a threat to public safety or national security.

In our next post, we'll take a closer look at these initial requirements, focusing on any potential pitfalls of which applicants should be aware.

In the meantime, if you have questions relating to the DACA program or other immigration law concerns, consider consulting with an experienced legal professional.

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