How DACA Status Can Provide Welcome Respite From The Threat Of Deportation

There are an estimated 1 million plus undocumented young people in the United States today. These aliens are living, working and contributing to society but are not recognized by the country’s administrative apparatus. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was enacted in August 2012 as a way to bring these young people into the system and offer them a legitimate way to live and work here.

It is estimated that over 1 million young people are currently in this position. The hope is that DACA can be made to work and serve the young people it is intended to help. The initiative is seen by many as the single biggest change in the immigration system in recent years. It has also been implemented quickly, and there are concerns over whether the USCIS will be able to cope.

Deferred status is merely an promise by the government not to deport the holder for 2 years. It is not the legal right to reside in the US, nor is it a path to citizenship. Nor does it give the holder the right to work in the US, although he or she will be eligible to apply for a Federal work permit. Deferred status is discretionary, meaning that it can be taken away at any time.

Those wishing to gain deferred status will have to meet specific conditions in order to qualify. The United States Customs and Immigration Service can provide the complete list of criteria, but in general, they will have to have been continuously residing in the US since June 15th 2007, be under age 31, meet certain educational requirements, and not be a convicted felon.

Specific criteria are laid out by the USCIS for those wishing to be considered for deferred status. Complete details are available from the USCIS website, but as a brief guide, applicants must have come to the US as children (defined as being aged 16 or under), have a certain level of education, and must not have any criminal convictions.

Applicants will need to supply evidence to prove that they meet the necessary criteria. Again, a full list is available from the USCIS, but will include documents such as passport from country of origin, birth certificate, school or military ID, medical records, bank statements, utility bills, and tax records. Legible copies of these documents will be accepted unless originals are specifically requested.

This evidence will then have to be sent to the USCIS along with three forms that the applicant will need to complete. It is crucial that the application forms are filled out correctly since there is no appeals procedure (see below). If the applicant is at all unsure about filling them out correctly he or she should seek help from someone suitably qualified.

If an applicant’s request for DACA status is denied, there is no appeal process. They may under certain circumstances however ask for their application to be reviewed by the USCIS customer service unit. Applicants who are denied deferred status should not have any fear of immediate deportation by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). This will only be done if the applicant is deemed to pose a criminal or security risk.

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