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DREAM Act / DACA

“Deferred Action”, also referred to commonly as “DACA”, amounts to an excercise of favorable discretion by the authorities, which allows an individual to remain temporarily in the United States and apply for work authorization. It does not confer any kind of permanent residence, nor can it be seen as a form of amnesty. Under this new initiative, deferred action would be granted for two year increments and would be renewable.

According to DHS, people may apply for deferred action if they meet all the following criteria:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Individuals may begin to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals on August 15, 2012.  Please do not file before August 15.  If you file early, your request will be rejected.

Specifically, DHS advised that:

  1. Effective immediately, ICE, CBP, and USCIS agents should not place individuals into removal proceedings who meet the above criteria.
  2. For those already IN immigration proceedings and who have been offered administrative closure under the previous prosecutorial discretion program, ICE will begin making determinations about deferred action immediately. For other persons who are in removal proceedings, ICE is directed to implement the program within 60 days.
  3. For those NOT in removal proceedings, which is the vast majority of individuals affected by the new announcement, USCIS has been directed to devise a plan within 60 days that allows people 15 and older to affirmatively apply for both deferred action and work authorization (those granted deferred action through ICE will apply to USCIS for work authorization as well). People with final orders of removal will also apply to USCIS.

Individuals requesting consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals must submit Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (with accompanying fees); and an I-765WS, Worksheet.

You can download the 2 official handouts from USCIS regarding Deferred Action here:

daca.pdf    daca-consider.pdf