Frequently Asked Questions DACA

What is the history and current status of DACA?

Answer

The Obama administration created DACA through an Executive Order in 2012 and the Trump Administration terminated DACA in 2017. On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court held that the Trump Administration’s termination of DACA violated the Administrative Procedures Act. The termination was deemed to be in error because the Department of Homeland Security did not take into account the reliance interests of the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers who have obtained employment, pursued educational programs and military service, bought homes and had children in the United States under the protection of this program. The termination additionally did not take into account lesser measures the Trump Administration could have taken to terminate the program, for instance by terminating the issuance of work permits but continuing to authorize prosecutorial discretion to prevent the deportation of Dreamers.

On July 28, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a statement indicating that while they look at terminating DACA, they will limit grants of Deferred Action to one-year increments and reject any initial DACA applications. USCIS issued a memo on August 21, 2020, implementing this guidance. As of August 21, 2020, USCIS will start rejecting any initial DACA applications, rejecting most applications for renewal filed outside the 150-day window, and reject most applications for DACA Advance Parole. On December 4, 2020, a federal judge found that the head of DHS did not have the ability to issue this memo limiting DACA because he was serving after the deadline for his appointment to be confirmed by the Senate. The judge ordered USCIS to begin accepting DACA applications pursuant to the Obama Administration’s 2012 memo. It is anticipated that the incoming Biden Administration will continue to honor DACA and in preparation for this, CARECEN is now accepting initial DACA clients as well as applicants for Advance Parole.

For more information on the history of the DACA litigation, please visit the National Immigration Law Center’s webpage.

Can I apply for DACA if I’ve never had it before?

Answer

USCIS is currently accepting new applications from people who have never had DACA before. In order to qualify, you will need to meet ALL of the following requirements:

  1. You were under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012
  2. You came to the U.S. while under the age of 16;
  3. You have continuously resided in the U.S. from June 15, 2007, to the present.
  4. You resided in the US without legal status on June 15, 2012;
  5. You have graduated from high school, obtained a GED, or are currently in school;
  6. You have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor, or more than three misdemeanors of any kind; and you not pose a threat to national security or public safety

What documents do I need to apply for DACA for the first time?

Answer

Please gather the following documents prior to your first appointment with CARECEN:

  1. Passport or birth certificate with photo ID
  2. Proof you have graduated from High School, gotten your GED or are currently in school
    • HS diploma
    • GED certificate
    • Current transcript and/or letter of enrollment from your current school
  3. Proof you entered the US before turning 16
    • Official school transcript
    • other school records
    • Visa/I-94 Card/Stamp on passport
    • Immunization/medical records
  4. Proof you have lived in the US since June 15, 2007 to the You will need 3-6 documents per year, including any of the following:
    • Official Transcripts (elementary, middle, high school, and college)
    • Bank Statements
    • Employment records or pay stub
    • Bills (cell phone, credit card, gas, electricity, etc)
    • DPSS/WIC benefit statements
    • Lease agreements/rental receipts
    • Medical/dental records
    • School/church/community certificates
    • Other documents that have your name and the date
  5. Court dispositions or clearance letters for any arrests
  6. If you have changed your name, you will need your marriage certificate or court order showing the change.
  7. Debit or Credit card for payment of $495 or money order for this amount if you do not have a card. Please be advised that using a money order will slow down the filing process.

What if my DACA is expired?

Answer

You can apply for DACA again even if your current DACA is expired. You may have to show documentation to USCIS to prove that you did not leave the US during the time your DACA was expired.

Could I be deported if I apply for DACA?

Answer

The Trump Administration has worked to expand the types of cases that will result in removal proceedings if the applicant is denied. It has specifically exempted DACA from this list of application types due to the pending litigation and the most recent memo restates the policy that information from DACA applications will generally not be shared with ICE for the purpose of initiating removal proceedings. This means that currently, the risk of being placed in removal proceedings is fairly low if the applicant does not have a significant criminal or immigration history. This could change in the future, however, so all applicants need to be aware that this is a risk in applying for DACA. While applying for DACA appears to be relatively safe at this time, there are no guarantees.

Can I apply for Advance Parole?

Answer

USCIS is accepting Advance Parole requests by current DACA holders who need to travel for the following reasons:

  • humanitarian purposes, including travel to obtain medical treatment, attending funeral services for a family member, or visiting an ailing relative;
  • educational purposes, such as semester-abroad programs and academic research, or;
  • employment purposes such as overseas assignments, interviews, conferences or, training, or meetings with clients overseas

Click the ‘Book Now’ button for more information about booking your appointment. In order to apply, you will need to have evidence of your reason for travel as well as a valid passport, current DACA work permit and to pay the $575 USCIS application fee.

What is the cost to renew DACA?

Answer

CARECEN is able to provide free legal services to people whose households earn under 250% of the Federal Poverty Line. You can check your income eligibility here. If your income is higher than that, we charge a $200 - $500 legal services fee, or you can book an appointment through one of our offsite partners. Click the ‘Book Now’ button above for more information on how to get an appointment.

There is currently no USCIS filing fee assistance available and the fee to submit a DACA request is $495. This is payable by credit card, debit card, or money order.

 

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