USCIS to accept new applications for DACA and early entry permits

Applications for first-time enrollment in DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, will be accepted again starting today, Monday, December 7, 2020. This was announced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

DHS and USCIS took this action after last week's decision by the Federal Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis to issue a ruling ordering President Donald Trump's administration to restore DACA in full., as originally established in 2012 by President Barack Obama, and prior to the attempt to cancel it in 2017 by the Trump administration.

In addition to accepting initial DACA registrations, USCIS is also accepting initial DACA registrations:

- Will accept DACA renewal applications

- Accept applications for advance parole (advance parole)

- Extends one-year deferred action grants under DACA to two years

- It will extend employment authorization documents (EADs), commonly known as work permits, to two years.

According to USCIS, the federal government will take appropriate steps to provide proof of one-year extensions of deferred action and work permits under DACA to individuals who were issued documentation on or after July 28, 2020, with a validity period of one year under the Memorandum from DHS Secretary Chad F. Wolf.

For now, DHS and USCIS will comply with Judge Garaufis' order while it is in effect, but the federal government may appeal to a higher court and seek to have the injunction dismissed.

Who qualifies for DACA in 2020?

DACA eligibility requirements are as follows:

1. Have been less than 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012.

2. Have arrived in the United States before the age of 16.

3. Have resided continuously in the United States from June 15, 2007, to the present.

4. Have been present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time you filed your DACA application with USCIS.

5. Have entered without inspection before June 15, 2012 or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012.

6. You are attending school, have graduated from high school, hold a General Education Certificate (GED), or have served honorably in the Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces.

7. Has not been found guilty of a felony, significant misdemeanor, multiple misdemeanors, or poses a threat to national security or public safety.

All requirements must be met. If you have a criminal record, including drunk driving, do not apply without first consulting with an immigration attorney.

Who qualifies for work permits under DACA in 2020?

Under immigration regulations, individuals who have received DACA are eligible to receive a work permit for the period of deferred action, as long as they can demonstrate "economic necessity for employment".

When an individual applies for initial enrollment or renewal of DACA, he or she must also submit an Application for Employment Authorization and Worksheet demonstrating that the applicant has an economic need to work. If you do not submit properly completed applications and filing fees, USCIS will not consider the request for deferred action and work authorization application.

Who qualifies for early entry permits under DACA in 2020?

USCIS may extend an early entry permit to DACA enrollees if the applicant wishes to travel for educational, employment or humanitarian purposes.

Possible humanitarian reasons include travel for medical treatment, to be present at a family member's funeral or to visit a sick relative.

Vacation travel no are a valid reason to apply for an early entry permit under the DACA program.

Anyone who is on DACA must apply for an advance entry permit before traveling outside the United States after August 14, 2012.

The moment a person with DACA travels abroad without an advance entry permit, the legal protected status granted by DACA will be automatically terminated.

Individuals who have had immigration or criminal arrests or those with deportation orders should not leave the country without first consulting with an immigration attorney.

Beware of fraud

Remember that not everyone is eligible to apply for DACA. Cases that seem easy may have complications.

It's not just about filling out a form. An attorney can evaluate case histories and determine legal options, including your eligibility for DACA and permanent residency.

Do not go to notaries, immigration consultants, paper fillers or multi-services. They are prohibited by law from giving legal advice.

Consult with an immigration attorney or federally accredited legal representative before beginning the process. Make sure they have a current license and immigration legal experience before hiring them.