DACA Attorneys in Hollywood Advising Clients on Their Options for Deferred Action
DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and is an option for those who came to the United States as undocumented children to be able to continue to live and work in the country without facing removal proceedings. Learn more about what DACA is, how it’s currently working, and what it means for your case below.
If you’re currently receiving deferred action through DACA and need to renew your status, contact our attorneys to find out what your next steps should be. The DACA rules are still being updated and are in a state of flux, which means it’s important to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information available and understand how the current changes may affect your case. At Magilligan Law, we can help you understand all of your options to be able to stay in the United States and potentially even gain legal status.
What Is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals?
DACA was established in 2012 under the Obama administration, and it was designed to provide a pathway for children who had come into the country undocumented to be able to avoid removal proceedings by being granted deferred action. The original program was for those that had arrived in the United States before their 16th birthday and had lived in the United States since 2007. Eligible applicants also had to have been younger than 31 years old on June 15, 2012. The program allowed those who were approved to be able to legally work in the United States for up to 2 years while they were covered under deferred action.
In 2017, the Trump administration began to make some changes, such as decreasing the length of the work permit from 2 years to 1 year. All new DACA applications were also rejected, and the time period to renew DACA was shortened. However, some of this was repealed in 2020. In July 2021, first-time applications were closed entirely, and the future of DACA remains uncertain.
Are DACA Applications Currently Being Processed?
As of October 2022, there is a stay on all first-time applications for DACA. This stay also applies to those who have previously been granted deferred action through DACA but have let it expire for longer than a year because these are also treated as first-time applicants. This means that it is still possible to file and submit an application for DACA but that the government is not reviewing or making any decisions on these applications for the time being.
While there is likely to be more discussion and potential legislation surrounding this in the future, these changes are significant and impactful for those currently under the protection of DACA or who could have used it as an option in the past. Those who have been granted deferred action through DACA need to be very careful to ensure that they renew it on time to avoid losing it. If you have further questions about the changes to DACA or what might happen in the future, you can talk with an immigration attorney.
Is DACA Renewable?
DACA is currently renewable, but only for those who are currently protected under DACA or who have had DACA in the past year. To file for renewal, you will need to fill out three forms:
- Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Form I-821D)
- Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765)
- The worksheet that goes along with Form 1-765
You will also need to include two recently taken (within the past 30 days) passport photos and include the filing fee with your renewal application. It’s best to file your renewal request well in advance of when your deferred action is set to expire to ensure that there is enough time for the request to be reviewed and processed before your current protection expires. You should file your renewal request 120 to 150 days before it is set to expire.
Does DACA Give Me Legal Status?
While DACA offers protection against removal proceedings and can help you gain a work permit, it does not give you legal status in the United States. While DACA can currently be renewed, having legal status can make it much easier to live productively in the United States and be able to have the benefits and rights that permanent residents or naturalized citizens have. If your goal is to be able to gain legal status, you need to speak with an immigration attorney about what other options may be available to you to move past deferred action through DACA and be granted a Green Card or other legal status.
When Do I Need an Attorney?
With the many changes surrounding DACA in the past years and uncertainty about what the future may hold, it’s more important than ever to consult with an immigration attorney about your case. It’s possible that the rules could change in the future, and those granted deferred action under DACA could lose their protections and face removal proceedings — often to a country they have no ties to or familiarity with. If you are trying to apply for DACA for the first time, are planning on renewing your DACA protections, or are ready to gain legal status, the first step is to call an attorney.
Immigration law can be confusing with the hundreds of different statutes and laws and how often things change based on the political climate and passing legislation. Whether you are facing removal proceedings and are wondering if DACA may be an option or if you need to renew your advanced deferred action, the team of attorneys at Magilligan Law is here to help. Call our Hollywood office at 954-866-8058 to speak to a member of our team and schedule a case evaluation.