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Hurricanes may make it harder for DACA applicants

Those living in Florida or elsewhere in the United States who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, had until Oct. 5 to renew their status. Anyone who reapplied by that deadline would generally be afforded the protections it offers for two more years. However, President Trump's decision to phase out the program may leave their futures uncertain if Congress doesn't take action to make DACA permanent.

Some individuals who may have wanted to reapply may have been impacted by the recent wave of hurricanes, further complicating matters. During a hearing in front of the Judiciary Committee, senators asked the Department of Homeland Security to extend the Oct. 5 deadline. They said that those who were affected by recent natural disasters should be given additional consideration at least on a case-by-case basis. Currently, individuals who were impacted by the hurricane in Puerto Rico have been granted extensions on such a basis, but those living elsewhere in the country do not.

To reapply for the DACA program, applicants needed to meet guidelines that were set back in 2012. For instance, they could not have left the United States on or after Aug. 12, 2012, unless they had advance parole. They also could not have been convicted of a felony or a significant misdemeanor. Furthermore, applicants couldn't have been convicted of three or more minor misdemeanors.

Those who run afoul of U.S. immigration law may be at risk of being removed from the country. Speaking with an attorney may help these individuals get answers to their questions and have representation during any deportation hearings. Currently, those in the DACA program generally do not have a path to citizenship, and their ability to work in the United States may also be in jeopardy if they are removed from the program.

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