The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, created in 2012, protects non-citizens from deportation, which includes thousands of young immigrants who arrived or stayed in the United States illegally before their 16th birthday. In addition, DACA also offers recipients, known as dreamers, work authorization.
DACA does not offer a path to citizenship, as there are currently limited ways of allowing undocumented immigrants to acquire a green card permanent resident status, compared to those who entered legally, for example, with a temporary visa.
To apply for DACA benefits, the following eligibility criteria must be met:
- Have been under 31 years of age as of June 15th, 2012.
- Have arrived in the United States before the age of 16.
- Have continuously resided in the United States from June 15th, 2007, to the present.
- Have been physically present in the United States since June 15th, 2012, and at the time of filing the request for Consideration of Deferred Action with USCIS.
- Not have legal status as of June 15, 2012.
- Currently in school, have graduated, or have obtained a high school completion certificate or a General Education Development (GED) Certificate.
- Be an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Coast Guard or armed forces.
- Not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors.
- In no way constitute a threat to national or public security.
Guidance on this topic is available at Gomez Law. It never hurts to have the information readily available from those who are specialists.