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Since its initial creation in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has unfortunately been subject to constant scrutiny and controversy. While a U.S. District Court order in late 2020 reinforced DACA’s applicability after years of challenges from the outgoing Trump administration, another District Court ruling in July 2021 placed a permanent hold on granting new requests for protection under this program, a decision that the Biden Administration immediately announced an intention to appeal.

Needless to say, if you want to either seek DACA benefits for the first time or renew the protections you have already received under this policy, having help from a qualified immigration attorney is crucial to achieving the desired outcome. A compassionate and knowledgeable Washington DC DACA lawyer could provide the guidance and support you need to enforce your rights and protect your best interests.

Criteria for DACA Eligibility

The primary purpose of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is to prevent individuals who were brought to the United States as children from deported if their parents or legal guardians brought them to the US without lawful immigrant status. Many of these individuals have never resided in their country of origin as an adult, and therefore, could suffer serious consequences if they are forcibly removed from the US. To qualify for protection under this policy, the applicant must meet all the following prerequisite conditions:

  • They entered the U.S. for the first time before turning 16, have resided continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, and were both younger than 31 years of age and physically present inside the U.S. on June 15, 2012
  • They either never had lawful immigrant status prior to June 15, 2012 or had previously valid credentials expire or be revoked before that date
  • They are currently attending or have successfully graduated high school, have successfully acquired a certificate for General Education Development (GED), or were honorably discharged following service in the U.S. Armed Forces or Coast Guard
  • They have no convictions for any felony or significant misdemeanor offenses, and they have no more than two convictions for minor misdemeanors
  • They pose no immediately apparent threat to public safety or national security

A Washington DC attorney could explain these requirements in more detail, as well as how individuals under 15 may be able to apply for DACA benefits if they are facing imminent removal by authorities but are not in detention.

Applying for or Renewing Benefits Under DACA

In addition to Form I-812D, applicants for DACA protection generally must submit various additional forms of identification and personal documentation to support their petition. This paperwork does not necessarily have to be formal government-issued documents to serve the purposes required for an application. For example, an applicant could potentially submit an automobile registration card, religious records, or hospital records to show they were physically present here before they were 16 if they entered the U.S. without any official record of their travel.

Anyone who wants work authorization after being approved for DACA benefits should also submit Form I-765 and its accompanying worksheet, if applicable. A lawyer in Washington, DC could provide assistance gathering and submitting appropriate proof of DACA qualifications in a timely fashion.

Talk to a Washington DC DACA Attorney Today

While DACA’s future is still uncertain, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is still accepting new and renewal applications for protections at present. Assuming the program remains in effect in the long run, it will still be a complex endeavor for which to efficiently apply. Retaining a Washington DC DACA lawyer may be key to preserving your future. Learn more by calling today.

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