ON June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama unveiled a program known as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.) Under this program, the Obama Administration will stop deporting illegal immigrants who entered the country as children. These individuals will also be allowed to get work permits to enable them to work and get a driver’s license. These individuals must file a request for deferred action with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Once the request is granted, they will be able to continue staying in the U.S. for a period of two years without threat of deportation. In order to qualify for this type of Deferred Action, the individual must: (1) be between the ages of 16 and 30 as of June 15, 2012; (2) have entered the U.S. while he/she was below 16 years of age; (3) be present in the U.S. for five years as of June 15, 2012 have maintained continuous residence; (4) be currently in school, have graduated, have a GED, or have honorably discharged from the military; (5) not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or multiple minor misdemeanors.
This program has benefitted around 800,000 undocumented immigrants. However, the Trump Administration has recently announced that it will no longer be continuing this program. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued a memo outlining how the phaseout of DACA will occur. We are listing down the more important points of this memo:
• No new applications will be accepted after September 5, 2017.
• Applications accepted by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be processed as normal.
• Timely renewals of DACA expiring at any time up to March 5, 2018 will be adjudicated normally and result in a two-year extension if approved. The renewal application must however be received by the USCIS on or before October 5, 2017. Any DACA expiring after March 5, 2018 will not be renewed.
• If your DACA expired and you failed to file for renewal prior to expiration, you are ineligible to file for DACA again.
• Any pending applications or new applications for travel document based on DACA will be denied. USCIS will refund filing fees for such advance parole applications. Previously granted advance parole will still be honored.
Despite the ending of this program, we are still hopeful that some form of legislation will be passed by Congress in the next six months. It is now more important than ever to contact your senators and encourage them to pass Senate Bill 1615, the Dream Act.
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Atty. Dennis E. Chua is a partner in The Law Firm of Chua Tinsay and Vega (CTV), a full service law firm with offices in San Francisco, San Diego and Manila. The information presented in this article is for general information only and is not, nor intended to be, formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Call or e-mail CTV for an in-person or phone consultation to discuss your particular situation and/or how their services may be retained at (415) 495-8088; (619) 955-6277; (916)449-3923 Dchua@ctvattys.com.