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Expanded Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals

On November 20, 2014 Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Charles Johnson issued a memorandum significantly expanding the number of individuals eligible for deferred action for childhood arrivals (“DACA”).

Note that the Secretary has directed that CIS begin accepting applications under the new DACA standards no later than February 18, 2015. If you may be eligible under the expanded criteria, please contact our office as soon as possible, so that the application might be timely filed.

To be eligible for DACA under the new standards, individuals must meet the following criteria:
  • have entered the United States before the age of 16
  • have entered the United States before January 1, 2010 and have continuously resided in the United States since that time;
  • are physically present in the United States on the date of the memorandum, and at the time of making a request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  • are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

The biggest changes from the previous DACA policy, enacted in 2012, are: (1) the age restriction previously excluding individuals over the age of 31 has been rescinded; (2) DACA will be granted in three year increments, rather than two-year increments; and (3) the eligibility cut-off date by which a DACA applicant must have been in the United States has been adjusted from June 15, 2007 to January 1, 2010.

All fees and biometrics requirements outlined in the initial DACA program remain in effect.

As was the case with the initial DACA program, this action confers no substantive right,immigration status or pathway to citizenship. Only an Act of Congress can confer these rights.

However, the expansion of the DACA program will allow more individuals to obtain work authorization and live normal lives in the United States.

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