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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services confirmed that recipients of deferred action are considered authorized to be in the U.S. and will be considered “lawfully present” under federal immigration laws.
The DACA program is a grant of relief by the Department of Homeland Security for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as young children. If they have pursued an education or military service in the U.S., then they may apply for deferred action which would allow them to have authorization to work in the U.S. This clarification is important becausethose who are beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will now be eligible for things like acquiring a driver’s license. Four states-Arizona, Iowa, Michigan, and Nebraska- have all refused to issue driver’s licenses to DACA recipients despite them being “lawfully present.”
The Obama administration has released statistics on the DACA program updated to last Wednesday. USCIS has received 407,899 requests for deferred action with 394,533 have been accepted and 154,404 approved. The majority of DACA recipients come from Mexico and reside in California.
The DACA program is working with people who were brought to the U.S. unlawfully as children and had no choice in the matter. They have gone through the U.S. public school system and a lot of times, they do not call any other place home than the U.S. If they have utilized and benefited from the programs and services the U.S. has to offer, they need to be given opportunities to be productive members of society. By being accepted under deferred action, these immigrants are able to pursue a higher education, or work to help support their families. We believe these young people should be given the same chances for education and occupation as any U.S. citizen. While a few states refuse to adopt the provision, the majority of states recognize the problem when immigrants are not treated fairly and not given a chance to drive to work or school. This is a small change compared to the comprehensive immigration bill that Congress is currently working on, but it proves that the U.S. is ready to move past previous conceptions and adopt an immigrant friendly country.
If you have questions regarding applying for DACA, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.