Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
RAICES attorneys offer legal services to applicants of
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or “DACA.”

What is DACA?

On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced that certain individuals who came to the U.S. as children and meet certain requirements would be eligible to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Many of the qualifications are similar to the DREAM Act, but it is important to understand that the two are completely different.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a program that will only defer or stop the deportation of an individual for two years and has to keep being renewed every two years. During those two years applicants will be given: work authorization, a social security number, and depending on the state in which they reside, a driver's license. (*Texas DOES allow DACA recipients to receive a driver's license.) However, DACA does not provide a legal status or a pathway to residency or citizenship, which is the most important distinction between DACA and the DREAM Act.

The DREAM ACT is a piece of legislation that would grant conditional residency and a pathway to citizenship to people who meet certain requirements and complete either two years of college or two years of military service. The DREAM Act has not yet passed, and become law.

What are the qualifications?

You may qualify for DACA if:

  • Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  • Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  • Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  • Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  • Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

If you have questions about first-time DACA applications or need to renew your DACA status, or if you would like to help organize a DACA clinic in your town, please call RAICES at 1-844-DACA-NOW, or 1-844-322-2669.  You can also message us by using the form below.

To view our DACA checklist please download here. For Spanish click here.

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