What is DACA in California?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration policy announced in 2012 that allows some young adults with “unlawful presence” in California (and elsewhere in the United States) to receive 2 years of renewable deferred deportation. In other words, the U.S. government can’t deport people with DACA status for 2 years. We need to pass THE DREAM ACT in Congress, but until we do, there are millions of individuals eligible for DACA in the United States.
There are around 200,000 Dreamers in California (and around 900,000 in the whole of the U.S.). These people came to the U.S. from all over the world, but the most popular countries of origin, according to USCIS, are the following;
- Mexico (79.4% of all Dreamers originate from here)
- El Salvador (3.7%)
- Guatemala (2.6%)
- Honduras (2.3%)
- Peru (1.1%)
- Korea (1.1%)
- Brazil (0.8%)
- Ecuador (0.8%)
- Colombia (0.7%)
- Argentina (0.6%)
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Who can apply for DACA in California?
You can apply for DACA status in California if you meet all of these requirements:
- You are currently 15 years old or older; unless you have a final order of removal or are currently in removal proceedings. Then you can be under 15 years old.
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; Your age is frozen on that date, meaning that even if you are over 31 years old now, you may still qualify. If you were born on or after June 16, 1981, you qualify for the DACA age limits.
- Came to the United States before your 16th birthday; If you came to the United States on your 16th birthday or anytime after that you did not qualify.
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time; You could have left the U.S. for a short period of time and still qualify for DACA if your departure from the U.S. was brief, casual innocent and not related to an order of removal.
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS; If you are not in the United States now, you cannot apply for DACA.
- Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012; Therefore, if for example, you were in the United States on a student visa, or tourist visa on June 15, 2012, you do not qualify for DACA.
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
********You do NOT have to have graduated from high school or received your GED at the time of filing for DACA. You must be enrolled and actively working towards your high school diploma or take the GED test at the time the DACA application is filed.
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three (3) or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
As you can see from above, DACA rules are long and complicated. This is why you need a California immigration attorney to establish whether you are eligible for DACA status. Many people think they can’t apply/reapply for DACA because of what they see on the news or read on social media. However, we have helped hundreds of people achieve DACA status.
We have expert knowledge of ever-changing immigration legislation in the U.S. and how USCIS and other authorities view the following:
- Criminal convictions
- Departure from the U.S.
- Lack of departure from the U.S.
California DACA renewal
You can renew deferral of removal action as early as 180 days before any deferred action period is due to expire. (To prevent a lapse in work authorization, USCIS recommends applicants file no later than 120 days before any deferred action is due to expire.)
DACA renewal sounds confusing, but it’s just the reapplication of DACA status. You will need to prove your residency status in the U.S. from the time you first received DACA status (or last renewed your DACA status). To renew DACA in California, you must meet the same requirements as those listed above.
Why Choose Us as Your California DACA Immigration Attorney?
With more than a quarter-of-a-century of experience in immigration law, Gloria Cardenas and her team at Familia America provide you with the legal resources you need to file for California DACA status (or renew your existing status). We understand the challenges of the complex U.S. immigration system and can help you achieve the immigration benefits you are legally entitled to.
Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, we serve DACA applicants in California. The rules surrounding DACA are the same in all 50 states, so it doesn’t matter about the location of your immigration attorney. With our experience, professionalism, and attention to detail, we can help you receive a work permit and achieve the American dream.