Since it began a decade ago, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, immigration program has often been in the news.
The federal government created DACA to provide some immigration relief to people who came to this country without proper documentation as children.
To be clear, DACA does not give anyone legal status to remain in the United States. Instead, the United States will agree not to exercise its legal option to start deportation proceedings against a DACA participant for two years.
During these two years, that is, while the government chooses not to initiate deportation, a DACA participant is effectively free to live in this country. As a participant in the DACA program, a person may also be able to get permission to work a job.
The person may renew their DACA status for another two years but will have to follow the proper process to renew their status.
Who is eligible to participate in the DACA program?
In order to be eligible for DACA, a person must meet the following requirements:
- Must have been no older than 30 as of June 15, 2012.
- Must have entered the United States when under 16.
- Must have lived in the United States since June 15, 2007.
- Must be enrolled in school or have graduated high school. Obtaining a GED or being honorably discharged from the military or Coast Guard also counts.
- Must not have been convicted of certain crimes and must not be a national security or public safety threat.
Other requirements and technicalities also apply. Someone filing for DACA must demonstrate how they meet the rules of the DACA program.
Otherwise, their application could be denied, which could in turn cause hardship for the person and their family.
Especially if there is some question about whether they meet DACA’s requirements, but in other cases as well, a resident of the Bay Area who is interested in qualifying for the DACA program may want legal assistance with filing their application.