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“Deferred Action to Help Young Immigrants” Turns One Year Old August 16th, 2013
It has been a year since President Obama issued Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a presidential initiative designed to grant a two-year reprieve from deportation and offer work authorization to young undocumented immigrants. U.S. Immigration Offices first accepted applications for DACA on August 15, 2012. DACA does not provide a path to permanent legal status but does allow young immigrants to obtain work permits. For the thousands of undocumented immigrants who have received this relief, the initiative has created an opportunity to obtain work and education without fear of deportation.
If you have questions about DACA, go to the US Government website on Immigration to find answers. Here are a few of the basics:
What are the requirements to apply for Deferred Action?
You must be younger than 31 as of June 15th, 2012; Entered the United States before your 16th birthday; Present in the United States on June 15th, 2012; Continuously resided in the United States for at least five years; Currently enrolled in school, completed high school in the U.S., achieved a GED or were honorably discharged from the United States military or Coast Guard; And not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more other misdemeanor offenses not arising from the same act or scheme of misconduct or are otherwise seen as posing a national security or public safety threat. For help with your application visit our application services page.
What are the risks involved in applying for Deferred Action?
The primary risk involved in applying for Deferred Action is that you are exposing yourself as an illegal immigrant to the United States government. If you feel that your case is particularly complicated or you have had a strange history or record in the U.S., you may want to consider using a competent immigration attorney.
As DACA turns a year old, this initiative is something to celebrate. However, more action is needed, especially by the U.S. House of Representatives. Many of these legalized young immigrants continue to live with the fear that their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters may face deportation in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform. For the faith community, the coming months are important. When Congress returns to Washington, D.C. in September, we need to call, once again, for action to address the need for comprehensive immigration reform, which we see as a humanitarian issue with moral implications.