Since 2012, “What’s going on with DACA?” has been a $1,000,000 question. The Obama administration created DACA to give some relief to young undocumented immigrants. DACA was supposed to be a temporary fix while Congress came up with a more permanent solution, but that hasn’t happened yet.

It’s no secret that DACA has had a very complicated legal history. There are still lawsuits that may threaten the future of the DACA program. For right now, DACA gives certain young immigrants a work permit. DACA also gives them temporary protection from deportation. DACA is valid for two years per application.

Under the Trump administration, only people who had DACA before could apply to renew it. Today, under the Biden administration, you can apply for DACA for the first time if you qualify.

Not sure if you qualify? To be eligible, you must:

  • Have been under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012

  • Have entered the U.S. before you turned 16 years old

  • Have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 up to the present time

  • Have been physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time you are applying for DACA

  • Have had no lawful status on June 15, 2012

  • Currently enrolled in school (or have returned to school), graduated, obtained certificate of completion (e.g. GED) OR be an honorably discharged U.S. veteran

  • Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety

If you have DACA, you may be able to request permission (Advance Parole) to travel outside the U.S. and come back. You can request it if you are traveling for specific reasons, like:

  • Studying abroad

  • Attending a conference for work

  • Visiting a sick family member

Unfortunately, you can’t use Advance Parole to take a vacation. It has to be for an important reason like some of those above. You also have to wait until your DACA gets approved before you can apply for Advance Parole. If you leave the U.S. before your DACA gets approved, it will end automatically and you may not be able to come back to the U.S.

At McEntee Law, we support the DACA program, but we know it’s not a complete fix. Congress still needs to pass laws to give DACA recipients and their families a path to permanent status.

As you can see, the language used in the DACA requirements can be confusing. It can be hard to tell if you qualify, especially if you’ve been arrested before. Before you apply for DACA or Advance Parole, it’s a good idea to talk to someone who is experienced with DACA. There are two types of people who can file a DACA application for you:

1. An immigration lawyer; or

2. A DOJ accredited representative.

They can help you figure out if it’s a good idea to apply. They can also review your background to see if you have any other options, maybe even better options. If you want to talk about your options, our team would be happy to help.

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