Kolko & Associates, P.C., is pleased to report the expansion of a critical immigration program to benefit certain people that entered the United States as young children. The program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”), was announced by the Secretary of Homeland Security on June 15, 2012 and the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) began accepting DACA applications on August 15, 2012.
DACA is a discretionary determination by the DHS to defer any removal action against an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion.
DACA is not the widely publicized DREAM Act (that has not been approved by Congress) and DACA does not provide a path to lawful permanent residency status or U.S. citizenship. However, DACA is a major immigration development that assists people who entered the United States before turning 16 years old and meet certain other legal requirements.
In order to qualify for DACA, a person must demonstrate that he or she meets certain key requirements, including that he or she:
1. Entered the United States for the purpose of residing here prior to his or her 16th birthday;
2. Was under age 31 on June 15, 2012;
3. Has continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007 up to the present time;
4. Was physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making his or her request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
5. Entered the United States without inspection before June 15, 2012, or his or her lawful immigration status expired prior to June 15, 2012;
6. Is currently in school, has graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, has obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces; and
7. Has not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
A person that is eligible must meet all the basic legal requirements, disclose his or her illegal presence in the United States, provide his or her fingerprints, and complete a background check. Applicants must file a properly completed application, along with extensive supporting information with immigration for the DACA benefit. Those eligible must also file for an employment authorization document.
Once approved, the Applicant receives “permission” to be present in the United States for two (2) years and receives an approved employment authorization document (EAD). Once the employment authorization is approved, the individual can apply for a valid U.S. Social Security Number and a state issued driver’s license or identification card.
If the person continues to meet the requirements, the DACA benefits can be extended every two years.
Kolko & Associates P.C. has already successfully reviewed and processed hundreds of DACA applications. We have one of the most experienced teams of legal professionals in Colorado assisting individuals with DACA cases. Our firm offers a “no fee consultation” for anyone considering this immigration option and we strongly recommend that people consult with a qualified and experienced immigration attorney before filing any applications with the immigration service.
Kolko & Associates, P.C., is currently reviewing and accepting additional cases for the DACA immigration benefit. For any person or family considering eligibility for this benefit, please email or contact our office by phone to speak with our legal team.