In 2012, the Obama administration under the President’s executive power implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, better known as DACA, after congress failed to pass the more comprehensive DREAM Act which was first introduced in 2001.
DACA was created to allow for applicants, or so-called Dreamers, that were brought to the U.S before reaching the age of 16, to apply for relief from deportation and obtain work authorization if certain requirements are met, in an effort to give them a more leveled playing field in the only country and culture that most of these minors know.
With the employment authorization, applicants are also able to obtain a social security number and state documents such as an ID and driver’s license. It is estimated that around 800,000 applicants have been granted DACA. It is important to highlight that DACA recipients cannot have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three more misdemeanors and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Although the program has had its challenges throughout the years, in 2017 under the Trump administration the program came to a halt, then again in July 2021, after a federal judge in Texas blocked new applications, the renewal application process remains in place.
If you currently have DACA, you can continue to renew your work authorization every two-years, as long as you maintain eligibility and are able to demonstrate a need for work authorization.
To renew DACA you need to:
- Complete the most recent versions of Forms I-821D, I-765, and I-765W;
- Include new documentation related to removal proceedings or criminal history that have not been included in the past with prior DACA applications;
- Submit your applications to the corresponding lockbox based on the state where you reside; and
- Submit the filing fee of $495.
It is recommended to file renewal applications 120 days prior to the expiration of your current work permit.
The future of DACA remains uncertain but there is a glimpse of hope for the future. President Biden on numerous occasions, and as part of his campaign promises, has rallied to Congress to pass the American Dream and Promise Act, which would give Dreamers the opportunity to apply for permanent legal status and in due time, apply for citizenship. The bill was passed by the House in March 2021, and the Senate version was introduced in February 2021. As of now, it is unknown when the Senate will take it into a vote.
If you have questions about DACA please contact the Immigration Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.