DACA Lawyer in Hackensack, New Jersey, Paving The Pathway To Your American Dream

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a U.S. immigration policy that was announced in June 15, 2012 which allows certain undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to receive a two-year renewable status to avoid deportation and be eligible for a work permit. DACA recipients are also known as “Dreamers.” The DACA program did not provide a path to citizenship or grant lawful permanent status.

Deferred action is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.

To be eligible for DACA, individuals had to meet the following requirements:

  • Entered the United States before their 16th birthday
  • Entered the United States prior to June 15, 2007
  • Lived continuously in the United States since their arrival
  • Was currently enrolled in school, a high school graduate, or honorably discharged from the military
  • Under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
  • Had no lawful status as of June 15, 2012
  • Had no serious misdemeanor convictions or three total misdemeanors
  • Had no felony convictions
  • Posed no threat to national security

Is DACA the Same as the DREAM Act?

DACA and the DREAM Act are similar but differ in a few key ways in terms of scope. One similarity is that DACA covered approximately the same group of people who would have been covered by the DREAM Act if it had been passed into legislation. Eligible DACA applicants are often called “DREAMers”.

The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act), is legislation that has been proposed several times since 2001 but which has never been passed, and which grants a path to legal status for illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children.

Under the DACA policy, individuals who were brought to the United States at a young age and met certain criteria had some relief from the fear of deportation. Many of these individuals were facing deportation to a country they hardly knew and have little connection to. DACA allowed these individuals to apply for authorization to legally work and earn a living for themselves and their families. Though the Trump Administration ended DACA during its tenure, recent changes in 2022 seek to reinstate aid for DREAMers.

Upon approval, individuals received a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation. Approved individuals could apply for Employment Authorization Documents (EAD), to be eligible for employment in the United States.

These individuals were eligible to apply to travel abroad for educational, employment, or humanitarian purposes. However, travel for leisure was not permitted.

Is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services accepting new DACA Applications?  Yes

Is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services processing accepting new DACA Applications?  No

Is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services renewing DACA Applications? Yes

Why is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services accepting new DACA Applications but processing these new DACA Applications?

This is a complex question.

DACA was established by executive order by former President Barack Obama in 2012. In 2017, the Trump administration attempted to end the program, but after legal challenges, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that the Trump administration’s attempt to terminate DACA was unlawful.

As of 2022, Federal Government has filed an appeal for the case of Bat all a Vidal et al. v. Mayor as, et al., a New York immigration case that was overturned in 2021, effectively halting the DACA program. With appeal arguments tentatively scheduled for July 2022, many individuals with DACA applications find themselves stalled until firmer decisions are made. With so many changes to the program, it can be overwhelming and difficult to know how to proceed.

How can I get Help Regarding DACA?

The DACA policy in the United States is undergoing significant changes, and these policies may continue to change over the next few months and years. It is important to talk to your immigration attorney for the latest information, policy changes, and advice for any DACA-eligible individuals.

If you have any questions about DACA status and deportation risks, contact the Law Office of Nita Kundanmal today by calling (201) 883-9800. We handle all aspects of family and employment immigration law in New Jersey and New York, and throughout the United States.