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Many people living in the United States without legal status are not here because they chose to live here. Rather, they came here as children with their parents or other family members. Many have no memory of their home country. The prospect of being removed from the United States and returned to their home country means being sent to a place they do not remember, have no ties, and may not even know the language.
Beginning in 2012, the U.S. government began implementing a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA. If all requirements are met, certain noncitizens are prevented from being removed and granted work authorization. DACA does not give a person legal status. Rather, it prevents a qualified individual from being deported.
If you are placed in removal or wish to avoid placement into removal proceedings, an attorney from Skinner Law Firm can help determine whether you qualify under DACA, and can represent you before the Philadelphia or York Immigration Courts. Every case has unique circumstances. We will review your case and determine if you are eligible for relief under the DACA program.
We can also assist you if you have received protection under DACA, or if your deferral is set to expire, and you are concerned you may not qualify. Call us today at (610) 436-1410 to schedule a consultation about renewing your DACA.
We represent people throughout the Philadelphia area, including in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Lancaster, Montgomery and York Counties, and beyond.
In recent years, Congress has repeatedly failed to bring about immigration reform despite overwhelming evidence that the current law is broken and badly needs revision. The current immigration law devastates families by deporting otherwise reputable members of society. Many efforts to bring the system up to date to reflect present reality have been shot down. By 2012, it was evident to most that legislative solutions were unlikely.
On June 15, 2012, President Barack H. Obama announced he was exercising executive authority to implement the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Executive action allows the President to advise government officials on deferring prosecution and deportation of certain noncitizens. The action was intended as a temporary solution to address the issues of many young people who could not gain legal immigration status, at least until legislation can be passed.
The program was expanded in 2014 to eliminate age gaps, broaden residency requirements, and allow permission for advanced parole. Unfortunately, on February 16, 2015, a federal judge in Texas issued a temporary injunction preventing the expansion of DACA and DAPA. However, the injunction does not affect current DACA recipients.
To be eligible for relief under the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an individual must meet the following qualifications:
A person seeking DACA protection must be able to prove all of these qualifications with documentation. An attorney can help make sure you have all the proper documents. If you have a criminal record or have been arrested, it is important to seek the advice of a skilled criminal and immigration attorney to avoid a conviction for a felony, significant or multiple misdemeanors.
Once you successfully obtain protection under DACA, any removal proceedings will be deferred for two years, unless something occurs that would mean you no longer qualify. For example, if you drop out of school or are convicted of a felony, the government will likely proceed with removal. If you are not in removal proceedings, none will be initiated against you.
You will also be able to obtain work authorization. If you reside in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware or another surrounding state, you should be able to receive a driver’s license.
It is important to note that DACA does not confer any type of immigration status. You will not be a lawful permanent resident and you do not get a green card. It is also highly important that you do not engage in any illegal conduct, such as voting or falsely claiming to be a United States citizen. Under DACA, you will only be able to stay in the United States temporarily.
Once the two year period nears expiration, you can renew your DACA for another two years. You must continue to renew DACA every two years.
If you believe you qualify under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, discuss your status with an experienced attorney. At Skinner Law Firm, we help people avoid deportation, so they can remain with their families and gain the ability to work lawfully in the United States. Call us today at (610) 436-1410 to schedule a consultation.