Helping Clients With DACA Immigration Relief

If you were brought into the U.S. when you were a child, and you attended school in the U.S., you may qualify for deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA). This program, initiated by President Obama, is a program for immigrant children, who are often referred to as "Dreamers". A grant of DACA status will terminate or defer deportation proceedings for undocumented youths who are not seen as a danger to the community and who meet other eligibility requirements.

DACA status is valid for a period of two years and may be renewed. The good news is that it entitles you to a work authorization card, a Social Security card and a driver's license. But DACA status does not entitle you to financial aid for college, and will not automatically lead to a green card, United States citizenship or other legal status.

Questions? Call (312) 445-9127 to speak to a Chicago immigration attorney at O'Grady Law Office, P.C.

DACA Eligibility

To be eligible for DACA status, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have been under the age of 16 when you came to the U.S.
  • You must have been under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012.
  • You must have continuously resided in the U.S. from June 15, 2007 (or earlier), to the present.
  • You must have entered the U.S. illegally before June 15, 2012, or, if you had a visa or a legal method of entry, your legal status had expired before June 15, 2012.
  • You must have been living in the U.S. on June 15, 2012.
  • You must currently be attending school, or have graduated from high school, or obtained your GED, or have been honorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces.
  • You must have never been convicted of a felony, a serious misdemeanor or more than three misdemeanors.
  • You must not be considered a threat to national security or the community.

Note: To apply for DACA, you must be at least 15 years of age. But you may be eligible to apply if you are under the age of 15 and meet certain criteria. Namely, if you are already in removal proceedings, or have a final removal order or a voluntary departure order.

DACA Risks

DACA offers undocumented immigrants temporary relief while the country waits for Congress to pass an immigration reform law. It is a move in the right direction, but it does carry some risks. Therefore, you are urged to contact an immigration attorney before you apply, because if you apply when you do not meet the DACA requirements, you could end up in removal proceedings. Also, remember that DACA status is discretionary. The next U.S. president can revoke the law any time.

Do I Need a Lawyer To File a DACA Application?

Do I need a lawyer to file a DACA application? Preparation of a DACA application requires time and attention to understand an immigrant's past experience. You must gather a large quantity of documents to prove all of the required elements, and you must organize and present those documents so as to show that you have met all the requirements. For these reasons, it is best to hire an experienced immigration attorney to prepare your DACA application. We can help you understand DACA rules, and what it can and cannot do for you. We can also help you determine if this is the right option for you. Call us at (312) 445-9127 for a free phone consultation, or fill out our intake form.