While Program Designed to Protect Childhood Arrivals Is at Risk, Renewals Ongoing
The program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was designed to give consideration to certain people who were children when they came to the United States from another county for “deferred action.” In other words, certain people who came to this country as children and who met other requirements could request protection from removal or deportation actions for two-year periods, and those periods were designed to be subject to renewal. Successful DACA applicants also receive work permits, which they can use to obtain driver’s licenses in states like Tennessee.
While DACA was designed to provide temporary relief from deportation, it was never designed to provide lawful status to people living in the country who came here as children. As you may know, however, the Trump administration has taken a harder line on immigration and has attempted to end DACA.
Our attorneys are dedicated to helping you and your family obtain legal status so you can stay in the U.S. without the constant worry of deportation. We have already helped hundreds of young people in and around Nashville and throughout Middle Tennessee who were brought here by their parents, referred to as “Dreamers,” successfully apply for DACA.
Our main goal is to see if you qualify for any available program. We are honest about your chances of obtaining legal status, whether temporary or permanent. Currently, according to a report from CNN, there are currently about 700,000 DACA participants in the country, all of whom were undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. What do you need to know about DACA and current issues surrounding it?
Flexing its hard line on immigration, Trump terminated the DACA program and indicated that DACA recipients would be unable to receive protections after March 5, 2018. However, a federal judge blocked Trump’s plan to end DACA, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case. Since the federal court issued an injunction, “the Trump administration must resume accepting renewal applications.” As such, it is important for people who had protections under the DACA program to understand how they can seek renewals. We are processing DACA renewal applications for clients today at Ozment Law, but it is extremely important to renew soon if you qualify, because the court’s injunction could end at any time.
As part of the injunction now in effect, DACA recipients can renew their DACA benefits even before their current two-year grant of benefits is up. However, renewing early may result in less than two full additional years of work authorization.
Criteria for DACA Protection
An individual could request DACA if she or he met all of the following requirements:
- Was younger than 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States prior to individual’s 16th birthday;
- Has continuously resided in the United States from June 15, 2007, up until the present;
- Was physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, as well as at the time of making the DACA request;
- Did not have legal status in the United States on June 15, 2012;
- Currently is in school, or graduated from high school, or obtained a general education development (GED), or is a veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States who was honorably discharged; and
- Has not been convicted of certain offenses and does not pose a threat to national security or to public safety.
In order to request DACA, you must be at least 15 years old unless you are currently in removal proceedings, have a final removal order, or have a voluntary departure order.
Initial—that is, first-time—DACA applications are not being processed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) now, because of President Donald Trump’s decision to end DACA. However, because of the court order mentioned above, we are actively working with clients to renew their DACA benefits for an additional two years. We work closely with our clients to maximize the chances that DACA renewal applications will be approved. We have seen the Trump administration denying DACA renewals for minor errors, so it is important to fill out all required forms correctly.
Prevent Deportation by Speaking with a Tennessee Immigration Lawyer
The team at Ozment Law can review your case to see whether you qualify for DACA or other routes toward deferred action or citizenship. Our attorneys will review your situation thoroughly to see if you qualify for a deferred action program, or if there is a better solution to gain legal immigration status. Though deferred action does not lead to permanent status, by talking with us you may learn that you qualify for a “green card” or some other benefit. We will find the best available option for you and your family.
DACA recipients with any kind of criminal history—including only arrests—should consult a qualified immigration attorney before attempting to renew DACA benefits. With the help of our criminal-immigration attorneys, we have successfully gained DACA benefits for clients with criminal histories they thought prohibited them from obtaining renewal.