The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) houses the government agency U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS reviews and approves (or denies) most applications for immigration benefits, including applications for deferred action (suspension of deportation proceedings) and work authorization for undocumented foreign nationals who were brought to the U.S. as children. These foreign nationals are popularly referred to as “DREAMers” and their immigration benefit applications are called DACA applications.
The DHS Secretary, Mr. Jeh Johnson, recently announced that USCIS is renewing the enrollment in the DACA program, effective immediately, and that USCIS will also continue to approve initial requests for the DACA benefits if applicants meet certain conditions. This announcement is great news as it will allow more DREAMers to receive DACA benefits, in addition to the 560,000 who have already received their deferred action and work authorization.
The reason behind this renewal announcement is that the original DACA approvals that were issued in 2012 will begin expiring in September of this year. The DHS and USCIS don’t want DREAMers to have any gaps in their deferred status or their work authorization, and so they are encouraging them to take advantage of the renewal process four months before their DACA approval expires.
In the effort to educate DACA applicants and the public about the renewal process, USCIS will be giving national and local information sessions about the process. Once the details for these sessions are finalized, USCIS will provide the dates, times, and locations on its website, www.uscis.gov/outreach.
You may be eligible for DACA benefits if you arrived in the U.S. before your 16th birthday, you have continuously lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, you have not been convicted of a felony, three or more misdemeanors, or a significant misdemeanor, and you have graduated high school, received a GED certificate, or were honorably discharged from one of the Armed Forces branches of the United States.
The renewal process begins by filling out the new version of form 821D and the I-765 worksheet. Please note other conditions must be met in order to qualify for DACA benefits, so contact our office today to speak to a knowledgeable immigration attorney about the DACA application or renewal process!