U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) recently posted on its website that it would begin accepting requests for expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on February 18, 2015. That is welcome news for the many persons who have been waiting to apply for DACA in the wake of a series of executive actions announced by President Obama on November 20, 2014. So what exactly does “expanded DACA” mean?
Previously, persons who were brought to the United States as children before the age of 16 could seek to apply for deferred action, which Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could grant as an act of prosecutorial discretion on a case-by-case basis if it could be demonstrated that the applicant was (a) under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, (b) in school, graduated from high school, obtained a high school completion certificate or a GED certificate, or received an honorable discharge from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States, (c) physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time of making the DACA request, (d) residing continuously in the United States from June 15, 2007 through the date of filing the DACA request, (e) in no lawful immigration status as of June 15, 2012, and (f) never convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three non-significant misdemeanors, and not considered to pose a threat to public safety or national security.
Under the new guidelines for DACA, persons need no longer prove that they were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 as long as they can establish continuous residence since at least January 1, 2010 and that they were physically present in the United States on November 20, 2014. This is what is referred to as “expanded DACA.” President Obama’s November 20, 2014 executive action removes the age cutoff so that certain persons who were previously ineligible for DACA solely based on their age may now qualify.
Beginning February 18, 2015, eligible persons born before June 15, 1981 can begin applying for DACA benefits, which include a formal reprieve from deportation and a document evidencing employment authorization, both valid for an initial period of three years. Before applying for DACA persons should seek appropriate legal advice on the particular facts and circumstances of their individual situation from an attorney licensed in the state in which they live.
The Law Office of Timothy D. Widman represents clients in employment-based and family-sponsored immigration matters, as well as in removal proceedings. His services also include preparing and filing DACA applications; call our office to schedule a consultation.
The content of this blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments. The Law Office of Timothy D. Widman expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this blog.