Update: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals-Benefits, Tips and FAQ

It has now been more than a year since the DACA program was implemented on August 15, 2012.  Based upon statistics provided by the Homeland Security, more than 500,000 applications have been received and a large portion of them have already been approved. There are others with pending Requests for Additional Information which sometimes seek missing information or documentation or where the applicant did not organize the documentation in an easy format.  In cases where the benefit has been denied, Department of Homeland Security is not referring cases to Removal Proceedings, unless the person poses a safety threat or has a significant criminal history.  Those applicants are eligible to reapply, but there is no appeal process.  Also, where applicants disclose family member information, including addresses, DHS assures that such information is not obtained in an effort to deport family members who may be otherwise ineligible for immigration benefits.

You will be eligible for the following benefits if approved in the program:

  1. Work permits will be granted by showing economic necessity.  DHS indicates that this will not be extremely difficult to show.
  2.  DACA recipients can apply for drivers licenses which is valid through the time period of the DACA approval
  3. Social security numbers will be available for those showing DACA approval
  4. Educational programs will accept DACA recipients
  5. Travel may be granted for certain DACA recipients upon showing that travel is needed for humanitarian, educational or employment purposes.  This is a separate request that must be completed following the deferred action grant.

The following tips are provided as a guide toward determining eligibility for this program, you may qualify under the following circumstances:

  1. Under age 31 on June 15, 2012;
  2. Arrived in the United States prior to age 16;
  3. Continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, until present;
  4. Were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and at the time of applying for DACA program;
  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  6. Currently attending 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.

Frequently asked questions:

 Will I lose my deferred action at a certain age? No, you may continue to renew your status under this program.

  1.  If I entered the U.S. illegally with that prevent my approval?  No, as long as you can meet all of the other requirements, it should not preclude you from being approved.
  2.  If a fake social security number was used in the past will I be able to qualify?  Yes, as long as you have not been convicted of any crime related to using a false social security number.
  3.  If I am married can I still apply?  Yes, marital status is not a factor in these cases, you may still apply.
  4. If I was previously deported can I now apply?  You may still qualify under these circumstances, however, legal advice is strongly recommended.

Before applying for any immigration benefits, you should consult a qualified attorney who can guide you through the process.

Cynthia Waisman, attorney focuses her practice in the area of Immigration Law. For more information, go to our website http://www.immigrationattorneytampa.net or call our offices in Tampa 813.279.6180 or Clearwater 727.712.2299. We look forward to hearing from you.