Young Immigrants’ Protections Restored
After a tumultuous four years for immigrant protections and rights, immigrants saw a bright spot in December 2020. The Trump administration announced full restoration of the President Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for young immigrants. This program shields hundreds of thousands of young people from deportation.
In 2017, President Trump ended DACA, eliminating these protections, putting in jeopardy current immigrants, denying new applications, and forbidding immigrants already in the U.S. from leaving the country temporarily.
During President Obama’s tenure, the program began in 2012 when he issued an executive order allowing immigrants brought to the country illegally as children to be exempt from deportation, given they met specific requirements. DACA recipients were temporarily granted the right to live, study, and work legally here. DACA applicants were carefully screened for any criminal history or threats to national security and had to prove that they were students or had finished schooling or military service.
However, not all immigrants qualify for DACA. Immigrants eligible for DACA must be younger than 30 years old and were brought to the United States by their parents when they were children.
What Does The Future Of Young Immigrants’ Protections Look Like?
Shortly after the December 2020 announcement, The Department of Homeland Security began accepting new applications, petitions for two-year renewals, and requests for permission to leave the U.S temporarily. This is the first time the government granted such allowances since 2017.
President-elect Joe Biden, who served as President Obama’s Vice-President, pledged to reinstate DACA prior to the Trump administration’s announcement, so immigrants can expect the new President to be friendly to the cause.
While DACA will stand, permanent legal status and a path to citizenship would require congressional approval.
Can I Apply For DACA For the First Time?
If you think you may qualify for DACA, reach out to Fay Grafton & Nunez for a video consultation better to understand your immigration status and your legal options.
Our team of experienced lawyers can help you navigate the new and often nuanced rules of immigration law. Our team feels deeply committed to helping remain diverse and a real boiling pot.
To quality for DACA, you must be:
- Less than age 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Were brought to the United States before your 16th birthday;
- Have lived in the country since 2007;
- a student or have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, a general education development (GED) certificate, or were an honorably discharged veteran of the armed forces.
- Clear of any felony charges
Some of the eligibility requirements for DACA are more nuanced, and a lawyer at Fay Grafton & Nunez can help you understand your status.