Deportation waiver program for young immigrants extended

The federal government recently extended a program aimed at helping young immigrants.

On June 15, 2012, President Obama issued a directive to the Department of Homeland Security instructing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to defer deportation action against some people who entered the country illegally as children. This program, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, had been set to expire on June 15 of this year. Fortunately, however, the Department of Homeland Security recently acted to extend the program for another two years.

Many immigration advocates have hailed the DACA program as essential to helping young people build their lives and become successful in the U.S. Indeed, in many cases, deportation would be a serious injustice: many undocumented young people came to the U.S. at such an early age that they do not remember their country of birth, let alone speak the language fluently.

In the first round of the DACA program, approximately 560,000 undocumented young people were granted relief from deportation, allowing them to continue their educations, get their driver's licenses and begin their careers. Under the recently announced DACA renewal, those who received deferrals can once again apply for another two years, provided they are able to pay the $465 application fee. The program also remains open for new applicants.

In order to be eligible for DACA, individuals must be under 31 years of age, must have entered the U.S. before they were 16 years old and must have been in the country since June 15, 2007. Those who have been convicted of three or more misdemeanors and those who have been convicted of a felony are not eligible for the program.

While DACA provides essential help to young, undocumented immigrants, its purpose has always been to provide a short-term solution to some of the challenges currently before USCIS and ICE. Immigration advocates are hoping that federal lawmakers will take additional action soon. Later this summer, the Department of Homeland Security will conduct a review of its deportation policies. In addition, President Obama has said that he hopes Congress is able to pass comprehensive immigration reform before elections are held in November.

To learn more about whether you are eligible for the DACA program or to learn more about how to apply, schedule a consultation with an experienced NC DACA lawyer. An immigration attorney can examine the facts of your case, explain your options and help you take next steps. For more information about DACA and other immigration matters, do not delay, contact an immigration attorney today.

Keywords: DACA