Background on DACA
On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced several important changes to the program known as “DACA” (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). These changes expand eligibility for the program. If your application is approved, you will be granted “deferred action” for three years, which means the government will not take action to remove you from the United States, and you will be given a work permit. “DACA” is not permanent residency, nor is it a path to permanent residency, and it does not give an individual permission to travel outside of the United States and then reenter.
Who is eligible?
Under these new guidelines, you will be eligible for DACA if you:
- Entered the United States before January 1, 2010 and have lived in the United States continuously since that time;
- Entered the Unites States before your 16th birthday;
- Were physically present in the United States on November 20, 2014 AND are physically present in the United States on the date that you apply for DACA;
- Had no legal status in the United States on November 20, 2014;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completing from high school, have obtained a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or received an honorable discharge from the Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces; and
- Have not been convicted of certain crimes or have certain immigration history.
Individuals who have been convicted of certain crimes, who have been caught at the border attempting to enter the United States illegally, or who have been ordered removed (deported) in 2014 may not be eligible. If you have ever had ANY contact with the police or immigration authorities, you should consult with an Immigration attorney before filing any application for DAPA or any other immigration benefits.
When can I apply?
The government has not begun accepting applications, but it is expected to do so beginning in March 2015. Individuals who currently have DACA can renew their applications under this new program immediately, and if approved, will be granted deferred action for three years.
What should I do now?
You should begin gathering documentation for your case. This will include proof that you have been living in the United States since before January 2010, proof that you were physically present on November 20, 2014, and proof that you are in school or have a high school degree or a GED. If you have any criminal or immigration history in the United States, you will want to consult with an immigration attorney prior to filing your application.
ABOUT L.I.H. LAW - IMMIGRATION LAWYERS
L.I.H. Law is a trusted immigration law firm with our office conveniently located in Seattle, near the Seattle Space Needle (2nd Ave and Denny Way).
Our well-respected lawyers exclusively practice immigration law, covering diverse topics: asylum, deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), detention cases, fiancé visas (K-1 visas), green cards, immigration status for victims of domestic violence or other crimes, naturalization applications, and much more.
The immigration attorneys and professional staff at L.I.H. Law are dedicated to providing the right solutions to meet our clients’ immigration needs. Our entire staff is fluent in Spanish and has served clientele from around the world.
Supporting our local immigration community is important to us. Our immigration lawyers and staff are active in volunteering for various community events and organizations, and conducting pro-bono work.