Understanding DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Potential Changes to the Program Under President Joe Biden

Do you or a loved one have questions about the federal DACA program? Many changes have impacted this program in recent years, so make sure you work with a lawyer for immigration if you plan to open your application.

What Is DACA?

Under this program, announced in 2012, the Department of Homeland Security allows certain parties coming to the U.S. as children who qualify to request consideration of “deferred action” for two years. After this point, the status can be renewed. This term means that the prosecution has the discretion to pause removal actions. Although it does not give an immigrant legal status at this time, it does allow them to be eligible for work in the U.S. As such, you need to retain a lawyer for immigration immediately.

Those who were approved for this program did not become citizens or get put on a path to citizenship, but they can get a Social Security Number, a work permit, and a driver’s license due to this program.

What Are The Eligibility Requirements for DACA?

You can request DACA if you meet specific basic eligibility requirements, including:

  • You were younger than 31 as of June 15, 2012
  • Arrived in the U.S. before your 16th birthday
  • Have lived in the U.S. continuously since June 15, 2007, through the time of your application
  • Lived in the U.S. physically on June 2012 and at the time of submitting your request for DACA
  • Did not have lawful status on June 15, 2012
  • Are in school, graduated from high school, obtained a GED, or have been an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States
  • Have not been convicted of three or more misdemeanors, any serious misdemeanors, or felonies

If I Have a Criminal Record, Can I Still Qualify for DACA?

Whether you can still qualify for DACA with a criminal record depends on your personal record. Anyone with a significant misdemeanor cannot use the DACA program. These include any crime punishable by at least five days in jail regardless of the final sentence imposed on that person. Burglary, domestic violence, DUI, unlawful firearm possession, sexual abuse, and drug distribution or trafficking charges are all examples of these types of crimes.

Additionally, USCIS has the discretion to determine if any other conduct allegedly carried out by the person in question might still meet the grounds of significant misdemeanor even when other aspects mentioned above were not connected with the crime.

What Changes Did the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Make to DACA?

In 2017, the Trump administration announced its intention to end this program entirely. That has changed due to a December 2020 court decision and the election of a new president, but the work to unwind what was done by the previous administration is still ongoing. That is why it is even more critical to retain a lawyer for immigration in your case. During that administration, several changes were put into place in the DACA program, including rejections of all new DACA applications, a reduction in the length of time the program ran from two years to one, and a denial of all requests for travel outside the U.S.

The USCIS became able to accept applications from first-time DACA applicants following a December 2020 court ruling. One month prior, a judge held that the changes mentioned above to the DACA program under Chad Wolf, acting head of the DHS, were not authorized and should not have been made.

What Are President Joe Biden’s Priorities Concerning DACA?

The President strongly supports this program. Per a briefing room presidential action statement, he intends to preserve and fortify this program. It is possible but not guaranteed that more children will become eligible for this program under the current administration. Biden stated on the campaign trail that he had intentions to reinstate this program within his first 100 days as president.

Questions About Your DACA Eligibility? Contact The Lozano Law Firm, PLLC

We understand that it can be both confusing and overwhelming when a change in presidential administrations and Congress means immigration policies might shift as well. That’s why we work hard to help families and corporations through the immigration maze™. We’ll sit down with you to get a sense of where your case is now and what you can realistically expect.

Getting the help of a lawyer for immigration could significantly impact your ability to apply for DACA. The rules of this program are specific, and now is the perfect time to take advantage of a presidential administration that supports it. Furthermore, a court decision at the end of 2020 means that the government has to reopen DACA to first-time applicants, which might allow up to 300,000 undocumented immigrations who came to the U.S. as children to enroll. This program has been renewed for two more years, so timing is critical for opening your application.

A lawyer for immigration can help you with your first-time application. Alfredo Lozano, a board-certified immigration attorney in good standing licensed to practice U.S. immigration law, can help you navigate confusing paperwork with expertise, dedication, and an individual approach. For legal advice on your DACA case from one of The Lozano Law Firm PLLC’s immigration attorneys in Texas, fill out our contact form or call us at 210-932-3600.

Copyright © 2021. The Lozano Law Firm, PLLC. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

The Lozano Law Firm, PLLC
5718 University Heights Blvd #104
San Antonio, TX 78249

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