What You Need to Know Before Renewing DACA
By Reuben S. Seguritan
Young immigrants whose two-year deferred action under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is about to expire are reminded to submit their renewal applications. The USCIS recently released the process for renewal and urged the filing of renewal requests 120 days or 4 months before the date the grant of DACA expires.
If the initial grant of deferred action expires before the request for renewal is approved, unlawful presence accrues and the applicant will not be allowed to work before receiving a new employment authorization document from the USCIS.
To be eligible for renewal, applicants must satisfy the eligibility requirements under the initial DACA guidelines. In addition, they must meet the following: (1) did not depart the U.S. on or after August 15, 2012 without advance parole; (2) continuously resided in the U.S. since submitting the most recent DACA request that was approved; and (3) have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
An applicant must complete and sign the new version of Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, accompanied by Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to renew work permit, and Form I-765WS Worksheet.
The application must be submitted with the $380 filing fee for the Form I-765 and $85 for biometrics fee, totaling $465 in filing fees. The check must be made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The USCIS has advised not to submit additional documents in the renewal application unless the applicant has new documents involving removal proceedings or criminal history which were not previously submitted in the approved DACA request. The USCIS may, however, request additional documents or statements.
To verify information in the renewal application, it may contact other government agencies, education institutions, employers or other entities. Knowingly and willingly providing materially false information is a felony.
Meanwhile, those who have not yet requested deferred action under the DACA program may still apply. First time applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements as set forth in the initial DACA guidelines: came to the U.S. before his 16th birthday and under 31 as of June 15, 2012; continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 up to the present; was physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time of making the request; and had no lawful status on June 15, 2012.
Also, they must be currently in school, graduated from high school or obtained general education development(GED) certificate, or honorably discharged from the Armed Forces; and not convicted of a felony offense, significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanor offenses, and not otherwise a threat to national security or public safety.
Over 560,000 have been granted DACA status. Deferred action under the DACA program grants temporary reprieve from deportation and allows many to obtain driver’s license and even in-state tuition, in some cases. Although it authorizes the recipient to work for a certain period of time, it does not lead to lawful permanent residence nor provide lawful status.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said that a child who crossed the border was not making an adult choice to violate the law and should be treated differently than adult law-breakers. He went on to say that, “By the renewal of DACA, we act in accord with our values and the code of this great Nation. But, the larger task of comprehensive immigration reform still lies ahead.”
(Editor’s Note: REUBEN S. SEGURITAN has been practicing law for over 30 years. For more information, you may log on to his website at www.seguritan.com or call (212) 695-5281.)
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