October 30, 2017

What is the Shifting Landscape of DACA Immigration?

By Ray Scheetz

An immigration program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has been featured prominently in the news of late.  Today we will explore the presently shifting landscape for the DACA program.

What is DACA?

Created on June 15, 2012, the U.S. Government rolled out the DACA program to protect the interests of children who were young when they were brought to the United States without lawful status. Essentially, DACA allows such individuals to apply for “deferred action” for two-year terms.  If approved for deferred action, the threat of deportation disappears for two years.  Approved individuals are also allowed to secure work authorization.

It is important to note that deferred action is not the same thing as lawful status.  It is merely a two-year reprieve from the burdens of illegal immigration.  Individuals must reapply for deferred action every two years to continue receiving DACA benefits.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for DACA?

There are specific eligibility requirements for the DACA program.  In order to apply, an individual must show that they:

  • Were no older than 31 years old on June 15, 2012;
  • Arrived in the United States before turning 16 years old;
  • Resided in the United States continuously from June 15, 2007, to present;
  • Can prove physical presence in the United States on June 15, 2012, and on the date of application for DACA;
  • Did not have lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  • Are presently in school, graduated from high school, obtained a GED, or served honorably in the U.S. military;
  • Were never convicted of a felony, serious misdemeanor or three minor misdemeanors; and
  • Do not constitute a present or future threat to national security or public safety.

What is Next for DACA?

On September 5, 2017, President Trump announced the elimination of DACA, according to an article by The New York Times.  The president detailed a six-month plan to phase out DACA and ordered Congress to work on a replacement program.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) acted swiftly, closing the door for new DACA applications as of September 5, 2017.  The government also set an October 5, 2017, cut-off date for DACA renewal applications.

But in recent days, the tide seems to be turning.  On September 14, 2017, President Trump indicated support for a Democrat-led effort to maintain DACA protections.  But the next steps remain unclear. Overall, there is a lot of political instability surrounding the future of DACA and those persons who have benefited from the program.

Do You Have Questions for an Experienced Immigration Attorney?

Whether you are dealing with DACA, applying for U.S citizenship, engagement or marriage to a foreign spouse, or other aspects of immigration law, the process can seem daunting.  The underlying rules and regulations are complex.  With intense competition for a limited number of immigration slots, there is no room for error.  That is why consulting with an experienced immigration attorney is vital.  Otherwise, you may not put yourself in the best position for success.

If you have questions concerning DACA, naturalization or other aspects of immigration law, please do not hesitate.  Contact the Law Office of Raphael M. Scheetz as soon as possible. With an office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and representing clients in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa, Raphael M. Scheetz can be reached by phone at 800-450-3140 (toll free) and 319-378-7416 (toll) or online by filling out a simple form.  He looks forward to working with you.