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5 FAQs About DACA

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been a topic of major debate, often leaving many with unanswered questions and misconceptions. This blog aims to clarify some of the most frequently asked questions about DACA. We'll delve into its origins, its current status, the impact on those it protects, and more. Whether you're directly affected by DACA, interested in immigration policy, or simply seeking to understand the issue better, this blog will provide clear, concise answers to shed light on this complex topic. Stay with us as we untangle the intricacies of DACA, providing a holistic perspective on this significant piece of immigration policy.

But First: What is DACA?

DACA, an acronym for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a US immigration policy initiated under President Barack Obama's administration in 2012. This policy shields certain individuals, often referred to as "Dreamers," from deportation. Dreamers are undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, have lived in the country for a significant period, and meet several other eligibility criteria. The policy does not provide permanent legal status but offers temporary relief from deportation and eligibility for work authorization.

1) If I've never had DACA, can I apply for the first time right now?

Since 2021, new applicants have been blocked from accessing DACA and nearly 93,000 first-time applications have been stalled. Even though USCIS will continue to accept applications from individuals applying for DACA for the first time, the court order prohibits USCIS from processing or approving these applications. As a result, if you choose to submit a first-time application, USCIS will retain the $495 fee and refrain from taking any action on your application.

2) If I currently have DACA, can I still renew it?

Yes, it is possible to renew if you currently have or have had DACA within the last 365 days. The United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) offers a recommendation to submit your renewal application within a timeframe of 150 to 120 days prior to the expiration date of your existing DACA.

3) What are the benefits of DACA?

DACA provides numerous benefits to its recipients, offering more than just temporary relief from deportation. Firstly, DACA recipients are eligible for work authorization, which means they can legally obtain jobs in the United States. This allows them to contribute to the economy and often pursue a wider range of career opportunities than they would otherwise have. Additionally, some states allow DACA recipients to apply for driver's licenses, further increasing their ability to participate in daily activities and employment. Although it varies by state, DACA recipients may also be eligible for in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities, making education more accessible. Finally, while DACA does not provide a direct pathway to citizenship, it does not preclude recipients from pursuing other avenues toward legal status such as Advance Parole.

4) What will happen if DACA is eventually ended?

If DACA were to end, it would be catastrophic for those affected. Dreamers who have spent much of their lives in the US and are deeply rooted here would be left in a state of uncertainty, facing potential deportation to countries they no longer consider home. Additionally, employers may need to replace DACA workers, leading to a decrease in productivity and economic losses. The ripple effects of ending DACA could be immense, with even those not directly affected enduring the consequences.

5) Can I still apply for Advance Parole if I have DACA?

Yes, DACA recipients may apply for Advance Parole by filing Form I-131. This document allows individuals to travel abroad on a temporary basis with approval from USCIS. Applicants must demonstrate proof of the purpose of their trip and its necessity in order for the application to be approved. Advance Parole will only be granted if the trip is for humanitarian, educational, or employment purposes. Returning to the U.S. on Advance Parole often is the key to unlock the door to lawful permanent residency.

More Questions? Ask Familia America.

At Familia America, we understand that the issue of DACA is complex and can be difficult to navigate. We are here to help answer any questions or concerns you may have about immigration policy. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation, and let our incredible team of legal professionals guide you through every step of your immigration journey with care and understanding.

Contact a Salt Lake City Fiancé Visa Attorney at Familia America Today

Attorney Gloria Cardenas brings more than 30 years of experience in immigration law to help protect the rights of clients and their family members. She and her knowledgeable team at Familia America work diligently behind the scenes to help process fiancé visa applications as quickly as possible. To learn more, contact the legal professionals at Familia America in Salt Lake City and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

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