The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, created from an executive branch memorandum by the Obama administration in 2012, allows those brought to the U.S. as children a two-year deferred action period from deportation. It allows recipients to receive a work permit in this two-year period.
When announced, the program was celebrated as a great opportunity for immigrants to gain access to work while not living with an ever-looming threat of deportation. Though it has gone through legal challenges over the years, it remains a crucial program for hundreds of thousands in the U.S. Fong Ilagan is proud to offer legal services in the realm of DACA.
How We’ll Help You Gain Permanent Residence in Houston
From the perspective of a DACA recipient or applicant, their status is often in constant threat. Among legal programs, it does receive an outsized amount of political attention and press, which can leave people confused and anxious about the future. At Fong Ilagan, we help our clients understand the process and navigate it step-by-step.
In addition to working with new applicants, we also work with current recipients to maintain their status or update their overall immigration status. From addressing simple questions to guiding DACA application and maintenance, our attorneys can help you and your loved ones in a variety of ways.
Am I Eligible for DACA?
The first step in the DACA process is simply confirming that you are eligible for the program. As stated earlier, this program is designed for individuals who were children upon arrival in the United States, so the criteria are geared towards this goal.
The following criteria are necessary for DACA eligiblity:
- Under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the U.S. while under the age of 16;
- Have continuously resided in the U.S. from June 15, 2007 to the present. (For purposes of calculating this five-year period, brief absences from the United States for humanitarian reasons will not be included);
- Entered the U.S. without inspection or fell out of lawful visa status before June 15, 2012;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making the request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Are currently in school, have obtained a GED, have graduated from high school, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or armed forces;
- Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor, or more than three misdemeanors of any kind
- Do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
If you have some questions regarding these criteria and your own situation, feel free to give our firm a call to speak with an attorney.
DACA Application Fee
The overall cost of a DACA application will be $495. This fee covers costs associated with biometric services, filing, employment authorization, and other processes. This fee can be paid in money orders, cashier’s checks, and personal checks, but not cash.
While fee exemptions are incredibly rare, there are some immigrant rights organizations that offer loan programs to help pay for the cost. Our team can help you find organizations that will help ease your financial burden towards DACA.
Common Issues That May Arise When Applying for DACA
For a variety of reasons, the DACA application process can come with various issues that can interrupt or even jeopardize the application. The following are a selection of common issues DACA applicants face:
Not meeting the eligibility requirements. DACA has strict requirements for eligibility. Review the requirements above or contact our firm for more information.
Paying for application/legal fees. Like other immigration services, the application for DACA is relatively expensive. If you are having trouble paying for DACA fees, our team can help you find financial relief organizations working with immigrants.
Rejected application. For many, their initial application for DACA may be rejected. Rejection can be due to a variety of reasons, but it does not mean you cannot apply again. If you are able, you can address the reason for your rejection and reapply at a later date.
Will DACA come to an end?
While DACA seems to be safe for now, the program has been a hot-button issue for years in politics. Immigration activists have successfully fought to keep DACA alive but it will likely continue to be a policy focus for years to come.
Will the USCIS use my information for other purposes?
The information you have provided to the USCIS will be protected under most circumstances. Your information may be utilized if you have committed a serious criminal offense, committed fraud in your application, or are considered a national security threat.
Can I gain citizenship from DACA?
As of now, there is no direct path to citizenship from DACA. While attempts have been made to create such a path, no attempt has thus far made it into law.
Contact Fong Ilagan, Today!
Whether you simply have more questions about DACA or would like to begin the application yourself, our attorneys at Fong Ilagan would love to help. To get started, please contact us today via phone, email, or through a visit to our office.
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