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Did you know that in the US, around 700,000 young people rely on DACA to stay in the country they call home? These undocumented children, brought here at a young age, face many challenges and uncertainties. 

This program offers them a chance for stability without the risk of being deported to countries they barely know. In this blog, we’ll present everything you need to know about DACA eligibility, its benefits, and recent changes in immigration policy. Let’s get informed!

Background & Eligibility Criteria

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was presented by the Obama administration in 2012. Its main goals were to protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation and provide stability and opportunities in the US. The criteria for DACA eligibility are precise, requiring you the following:

  • You were under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012.
  • You came to the US before your 16th birthday.
  • You’ve lived in the US continuously since June 15, 2007.
  • When you applied, you were physically present in the US on June 15, 2012.
  • You had no lawful status as of June 15, 2012.
  • You’re currently in school, graduated, obtained a GED, or honorably discharged from the military.
  • You have no felony convictions, significant misdemeanors, or three or more other misdemeanors.

The Advantages of DACA Status

DACA offers several key benefits that can significantly improve the lives of its recipients, such as:

Protection from Deportation

One of the main DACA benefits is protection from deportation. Recipients can stay in the US without fear of removal, which provides peace of mind and stability.

Work Authorization

DACA recipients can obtain work permits. This ability to work legally helps them support themselves and their families, contributing positively to the economy.

Access to State Benefits

With DACA status, recipients may access driver’s licenses and certain state benefits. These benefits improve mobility and access to essential services, enhancing their quality of life.

Challenges Faced by DACA Recipients

Despite its benefits, DACA can present several challenges. Renewing your status every two years can be stressful and costly, and the need to maintain continuous DACA eligibility adds pressure. 

You might also face systemic obstacles with limited higher education and healthcare access. Many states don’t offer in-state tuition, and you can’t get federal student aid. You may also struggle to find affordable healthcare coverage.

Recent Developments & Policy Changes

Recent legal changes have significantly impacted DACA immigration policy. On September 13, 2023, the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled that the DACA Final Rule is unlawful. This expanded a previous injunction from July 16, 2021.

Despite this, there is a partial stay for those who received their DACA status before July 16, 2021, allowing their current DACA grants and Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to remain valid until expiration.

The ongoing political and legal battles add to the uncertainty for DACA recipients. Although current grants and EADs remain valid under new regulations, initial requests are not being processed due to court orders.

Move Forward with The Presti Law Firm

Navigating DACA immigration policy can be challenging. You might feel uncertain about your future and fear deportation. No one should feel insecure in the country they call home. At The Presti Law Firm, we understand your concerns and are here to help.

Don’t let confusion and legal hurdles stand in your way. With our dedicated and professional support, you can achieve stability and security. Contact us today and take control of your future.