If you or your child are facing removal proceedings, or have a voluntary departure order, but believe you may qualify under the 2012 DACA, our experienced DACA immigration attorneys can help.
Our team of immigration attorneys has worked hard to understand the most recent laws so that we can effectively apply them to your case. We’ll help you develop the most convincing argument possible for why you should be afforded DACA protection.
If you don’t qualify, we’ll help you determine what your next steps should be. Either way, we take the guess work out of the process and put our experience to work for your future.
The Deferred Action for Children Arrivals program (DACA)
Implemented in 2012 and designed to protect certain children of undocumented aliens from deportation or removal by deferring them for 2 years and then allowing them to apply to renew their deferral for another 2 years when the time period expires.
Deferral is an act of selective prosecution. Under immigration law, anyone who is in the US illegally is subject to removal. By the USCIS electing not to prosecute DACA participants, they can apply for employment authorization (so long as they can demonstrate an economic necessity), Social Security Numbers and student aid for higher education (DACA) in some cases. Although under DACA you are allowed to work and go to school anywhere in the US, you are still not conferred legal status but you will have a designation called “legal presence” so that law enforcement may not lawfully arrest you based on your immigration status alone. You are also allowed to establish a domicile in the US so as to qualify for in-state tuition among other benefits.
Benefits of Hiring a DACA Lawyer
As the USCIS and other departments work to revamp the immigration system, it becomes more and more critical that applicants be precise. The administration has little patience for mistakes nor the time to help you with their many complicated forms. Without an attorney, you’re on your own and completely at the mercy of the system.
Hiring a qualified immigration attorney whose experience includes guiding families through the DACA process is critical to your success.
At Nuñez & Associates, we can help you:
- Determine your eligibility
- Properly complete the forms
- Prepare you for possible outcomes
- Counsel you on next steps
- And more
We’ll be by your side from start to finish, providing compassionate support and strategic counsel.
"Josh Nunez — I highly recommend him to advocate for you, you will get the care you need! Thank you for restoring my dignity by your kindness, special care and attention to my case. My family and I are forever grateful to you, and to your entire team for all the help you have given […]"
To be eligible for DACA and deferred action, you must be undocumented and fit within the following guidelines:
- Your parents brought you to the US while you were not yet 16
- You had not reached the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
- You were in the US on June 15, 2012 and each day since August 15, 2012
- You were not legally in the US on June 15, 2012
- You can prove continuous presence in the US from January 1, 2010
- You are enrolled in school
- Or, you graduated from high school or have a GED certificate or enrolled in a qualifying course
- You have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or have 3 non-significant misdemeanor convictions or otherwise pose a threat to public safety or to national security
A significant misdemeanor is a crime for which a court can sentence you for up to one year but not less than 5 days. Examples are convictions for domestic violence, DUI, drug trafficking or sales, burglary or violent crime. Traffic offenses such as speeding are not significant misdemeanors. Also, if you pled guilty to or were found guilty of 2 misdemeanors that arose out of the same criminal conduct, it only counts as one. However, if you received 3 non-significant misdemeanor convictions, you are not eligible for deferred action.
DACA Filing Fees & Forms
Aside from meeting the minimum criteria, qualifying for DACA requires that you successfully complete a specific series of forms. Failing to submit a form with your application packet, not filling a form out all the way, or answering something incorrectly are all grounds for a return or denial of your application.
To begin, every applicant must complete form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This is the main application and must be given careful consideration.
Along with the I-821D, you must submit an I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and I-765WS, Worksheet. Both are critical and cannot be left out.
In addition, the applicant must submit documentation to prove you meet the guidelines. The list of acceptable documents is extensive and can be found on uscis.gov.
USCIS charges a $465 filing fee, made out to the Department of Homeland Security, for each DACA application. Fee exemptions are available on a very limited basis and must be requested prior to submitting your DACA application. To request the exemption, you must mail a letter of explanation along with documentation and proof that you meet one of the following conditions:
- You are under 18 years of age, have an income that is less than 150 percent of the U.S. poverty level, and are in foster care or otherwise lacking any parental or other familial support; or,
- You are under 18 years of age and homeless; or,
- You cannot care for yourself because you suffer from a serious, chronic disability and your income is less than 150 percent of the U.S. poverty level; or,
- You have, at the time of the request, accumulated $10,000 or more in debt in the past 12 months as a result of unreimbursed medical expenses for yourself or an immediate family member, and your income is less than 150 percent of the U.S. poverty level.
If your initial 2-year grant of deferred action is coming to an end, you must submit a new request to qualify for the additional 2 years of deferral. Aside from meeting all of the initial requirements, you must now prove that you:
- Did not depart the United States on or after Aug. 15, 2012, without advance parole;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since you submitted your most recent DACA request that was approved; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
If you meet these criteria, you must complete the same three forms you submitted for your initial application; Form I-821D, Form I-765, and Form I-765WS.
USCIS recommends that you complete your renewal application at least 120 before your original deferment is set to expire.
Our DACA immigration lawyers provide first-class legal service with a humanitarian approach.
We’ll have your application packet successfully completed and out the door while offering honest advice about what to expect and steps to take from there.