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Sam Haddad Attorney & Counselor, Austin Texas
Deferred Action For
Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”)


What is the new Deferred Action policy that President Obama announced?

On June 15, 2012, President Obama and the Secretary of Homeland Security announced a new Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) policy that will allow some undocumented young people to apply for a way to:

  • Avoid being removed or deported from the United States;
  • Avoid being removed if already in removal proceedings
    (immigration court);
  • Avoid being placed into removal proceedings

Those who apply and are found eligible will receive a benefit called deferred action for a period of two (2) years – with the possibility of renewal – and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.

Who qualifies? What guidelines must I meet to be eligible for deferred action for childhood arrivals?

Pursuant to the Secretary’s June 15, 2012 memorandum, in order to be considered for deferred action for childhood arrivals (“DACA”), you must submit evidence, including support documents, showing that you:

  1. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  2. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  3. Were physically present and have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. 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;
  5. 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.

These guidelines must be met for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals (“DACA”). USCIS retains the ultimate discretion on whether deferred action is appropriate in any given case.

How do individuals apply?

Beginning August 15, 2012, you will be able to submit your request for consideration of deferred action to USCIS through a form, along with a form requesting an employment authorization document. The total fees will be $465. 

Form Name
I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Total fee of $465. 
$380 fee plus
$85 fee for biometric services.
I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
I-765WS, Worksheet

What are the risks of applying?

Deferred action is not federal law. It can be terminated at any time, including by a new Presidential Administration.

An application notifies DHS of the undocumented immigrant’s presence, potentially exposing him or her to future removal proceedings.

An applicant denied deferred action (based on, for example, the commission of certain crimes) may possibly be placed immediately in removal proceedings.

What should applicants do now?

We know that applicants will need to complete a background check and will be expected to have evidence of each of the eligibility requirements. Documentation will likely need to include, for example, financial, school, and/or medical records. Applicants will also need to demonstrate their presence in the United States on June 15, 2012 and for the five (5) years prior.

Therefore, start collecting your documents to demonstrate your eligibility under this new policy.

  • Gather documents to show your presence in the United States on June 15, 2012 as well as your presence in the country for the past five years.
  • Obtain evidence of your age (like a birth certificate) and your enrollment in a U.S. high school or your graduation from a U.S. high school or GED program or military service.

If you have any criminal arrests or convictions in your history, obtain a copy of your criminal records so an attorney or reputable legal services provider can help you analyze your eligibility or risk in applying. Information in this Advisory is composed from various sources: including USCIS and DHS.

Relevant resources:

White House on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS)

[Spanish: http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/espanol/20120615-napolitano-anuncia-proceso-de-accion-diferida.shtm]

June 15, 2012 - Washington, DC
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings.

Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE)

June 15, 2012 - Washington, DC
Secretary Napolitano announces deferred action process for young people who are low enforcement priorities Individuals can call ICE's hotline at 1-888-351-4024 with questions or to request more information. (http://www.ice.gov/doclib/about/offices/ero/pdf/s1-certain-young-people.pdf)


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