Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) remains in effect, but there is considerable pressure building in legislatures across the country to end the program. As of January 2017, more than 750,000 applicants were granted work permits and deportation relief through DACA and many more remain eligible. As such, individuals who have not submitted their DACA applications should do so quickly before the program is terminated. While Chicago currently remains a sanctuary city for immigrants, reliable protection from deportation is not guaranteed should Washington decide to take further measures in the future.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a program initiated under the Obama administration that makes it possible for undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children to receive deferred action on deportation and to pursue eligibility for a work permit. The program was implemented in conjunction with the Deferred Action for Parents and Lawful Permanent Residents which was rescinded in June 2017.
Qualifying for DACA
Individuals qualify for DACA relief if they meet the following requirements:
- Under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012.
- Arrived in the US prior to turning 16 years old.
- Resided in the US from June 15, 2007, to the present time.
- Entered the US prior to June 15, 2012, or lost their lawful visa status prior to this date.
- Are currently enrolled in school or have completed a high school or GED program in the United States.
- Were honorably discharged from the Armed Forces or US Coast Guard.
Additionally, they must have no felony convictions or significant misdemeanors, and not pose a threat to national security or the safety of the public. Disqualifying convictions include burglary, domestic violence, sexual assault, DUI, and drug trafficking.
Reasons DACA Applications are Denied
There are many reasons a DACA application can be denied. These include failing to appear at the Application Support Center to provide photographs and fingerprints and failing a background check because of criminal records or known threats to public safety. Other reasons include failing to meet qualifications for residency and duration of stay in the United States and for discrepancies within the application such as incorrect birth dates, addresses, employment, etc. The application can also be denied for failing to provide evidence that the applicant meets DACA renewal guidelines.
A Chicago immigration attorney can help individuals complete and submit their documentation and can prepare and deliver responses to inquiries and requests made by USCIS officials stemming from applications.