The US government is, once again, accepting applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that allows people who are in the country without valid legal status to defer possible deportation for up to 2 years. In addition, DACA gives its beneficiaries the possibility of being eligible to obtain a work permit.
Sean Lewis, founding partner of the study, points out that, in order for a person to qualify for DACA, they must meet a series of requirements that may seem simple at first glance, but require a thorough legal analysis. These are:
- Have been under 31 years of age on June 15, 2012,
- Having arrived in the U.S.A. before turning 16 years of age,
- Have resided in the U.S.A. from June 15, 2007 to today
- Have been physically present in the US on June 15, 2012,
- Not have had a legal status that would allow their stay in the United States in June 15, 2012
- Be in school, have graduated, or have a high school completion certificate (GED in the US)
- Not have been convicted of a felony or 3 or more misdemeanors
- Not be a threat to national or public security
Felony and Misdemeanors
The felony and misdemeanors referred to by DACA are called “significant misdemeanors” (also called Misdemeanor A in Tennessee) and “misdimeanors,” respectively, Lewis explains.
A Misdemeanor A includes, for example, drunk driving and causing harm to another person. They are crimes that have more severe consequences and punishments. Also included within this group of crimes are those related to drug possession and assaults, as well as crimes for which the offender spent 3 days in jail.
It is possible to be a beneficiary of DACA even with a Misdemeanor A. However, that depends on the reform of the person and if he attended his classes imposed by law. “In general we do not recommend that you apply to DACA if crimes of this type have been committed,” says Lewis.
On the other hand, misdemeanors themselves are about crimes such as driving without a license.
According to the lawyer, crimes committed before the age of 18 do not count for DACA application, since these are not really criminal cases, but delinquency. “A juvenile record does not count as a conviction or misdemeanor,” adds Lewis about it.
On the other hand, it is important to indicate that the “expungment” does work when applying to the program. Expungment is a process by which a person can erase their criminal record. Although this usually has no effect on immigration applications, it does have an effect on DACA applications in favor of the applicant. “If they erased it, it’s not coming out.”
Legal Status on June 15, 2012
Lewis clarifies that the people who were in the United States On June 15, 2012, with a valid visa, cannot qualify for DACA, as this means that, at that time, they did have a valid legal status to remain in the country.
In that sense, he adds that the help of a lawyer is necessary to be able to review the legality of all the applicant’s documents, since he could have been in the country legally without knowing it, so he does not recommend applying for DACA without legal advice.
Can I apply for DACA if I was previously deported?
Yes, DACA differs the deportation that would apply to anyone without valid legal status in the US.
In that sense, a person who had previous deportations can apply for DACA
Can I travel as a DACA recipient?
DACA does grant the benefit of travel.
However, you cannot travel for vacation or leisure reasons. The reason for the trip must be urgent, such as a family medical emergency.
Travel for work reasons is also allowed. For example, a person may attend an international forum.