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Deferred Action for DREAMers (DACA)

What is DACA?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration policy that allows individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children to receive renewable two-year periods of deferred action (protection from deportation) and work permits. Implemented by the Obama administration in 2012, DACA is designed to protect eligible immigrant youth and provide them with the ability to work and live in the U.S. without fear of deportation. USCIS is currently only accepting DACA renewal applications.

DACA Requirements

  1. Born after June 15, 1981
  2. Arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16
  3. Have lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
  4. Present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
  5. Enrolled in school, graduated high school, received GED, or were honorably discharged from the U.S. military
  6. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor (including DUI), or 3 or more other misdemeanors. And do not pose a threat to public safety or national security.

Recent Litigation and the Future of DACA

In July 2021, federal judge Andrew Hanen in Texas made a significant ruling affecting the DACA program. Judge Hanen’s decision halted the approval of new DACA applications, stating that in his view, the program was improperly implemented under the law. While this decision does not immediately impact current DACA recipients, it does prevent the processing of new applications.

Impact of the Litigation

  • Current Recipients: If you are already a DACA recipient, you can still submit your renewal applications. This ruling does not affect your current DACA status or your ability to renew.
  • New Applicants: Unfortunately, due to Judge Hanen’s ruling, if you have not previously been granted DACA status or if your DACA has been expired for over a year, you cannot apply for the program as of this update.

 

What’s Next?

The legal landscape surrounding DACA is continually evolving. The 2021 decision is subject to appeal, and the ultimate fate of DACA may lie in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. We are closely monitoring these developments to provide our clients with the most current information and to prepare for any changes that may come.

 

Our Commitment

We understand the stress and uncertainty that comes with these legal challenges. The Love Law Firm remains committed to advocating for DREAMers and is ready to assist with renewing DACA applications and exploring alternative pathways to permanent lawful immigration status such as legal permanent residence and U.S. citizenship.

Stay connected with us for the most recent updates and strategies regarding DACA and your rights as an immigrant. Contact one of our experienced attorneys for assistance with your DACA renewal and for more information on pathways to become a legal permanent resident.

Rights of DREAMers

Despite the legal challenges, your rights as a DACA recipient remain:

 

  1. Employment Authorization Documents (EAD): Your work permit is valid until its expiration date. You have the full right to work in the United States until then, and you are under no obligation to disclose the status of your DACA to your employer.
  2. Social Security Numbers (SSNs): Your SSN remains valid for life, retaining its validity for education, banking, housing, and other essential services, even if your work permit and DACA status expire.
  3. Driver’s Licenses: As long as your DACA status is valid, you are eligible to apply for a driver’s license.
  4. Travel on Advance Parole: Advance Parole is a provision that can allow DACA recipients to travel abroad for humanitarian, educational, or employment purposes. This travel may have potential benefits for adjusting your immigration status in the future. Please consult with us to understand the nuances and legal implications of travel on Advance Parole.
  5. Exploring Other Immigration Options: There may be additional pathways to adjust your status and obtain permanent residence. We are here to explore all possible avenues with you.
  6. Criminal Issues and Your Status: Any criminal record can significantly affect your immigration status. We recommend consulting with both a criminal defense attorney and one of our immigration attorneys if you face such issues.
  7. Know Your Rights: It is crucial to understand your rights in the U.S., whether you are documented or not. We provide resources and guidance to help you navigate these rights. Please see our Know Your Rights page (insert link).
  8. Renewing Your DACA: Continue to renew your DACA well in advance so that you can avoid any gaps in your employment authorization and driver’s license.

    What is Advance Parole and How Can it Help Me?

    Advance Parole is a unique travel document that grants permission to those with certain immigration statuses (such as DACA and TPS) to re-enter the U.S. after traveling abroad. For DACA recipients, Advance Parole could provide an opportunity not just for travel but also to potentially aid in adjusting your immigration status to permanent residence.

     

    Understanding Advance Parole

    Advance Parole allows you to leave the U.S. for specific reasons including:

    • Humanitarian purposes, such as obtaining medical treatment abroad or visiting a sick relative.
    • Educational purposes, participating in a study abroad program or conducting academic research.
    • Employment purposes, attending overseas meetings or conferences, or fulfilling other work obligations.

     

    Benefits of Advance Parole

    • Travel Abroad: It provides the freedom to travel for significant personal, professional, or academic reasons without forfeiting your DACA status.
    • Adjustment of Status: Returning to the U.S. with Advance Parole might make you eligible for adjustment of status, specifically if you are the beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition. In situations where a DACA recipient was brought to the US without a visa, returning to the US on Advance Parole may make you eligible for adjustment of status to become a permanent resident through a US citizen spouse or child of at least 21 years of age. This is a complex area of immigration law, and the impact of travel on Advance Parole on your status should be discussed with an immigration attorney. Please contact us for assistance in applying for Advance Parole.
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