U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced procedures for obtaining renewals of deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA). DACA was first announced in June 2012 by then DHS Secretary Napolitano which allows DHS to exercise its prosecutorial discretion to grant temporary benefits for certain individuals who came to the United States as children. The memorandum provided for a grant of deferred action, as well as an accompanying employment authorization document, for certain individuals who came to the U.S. prior to the age of sixteen, had lived in the U.S. for at least five years, and who fulfilled certain educational requirements.
The recent announcement regarding DACA renewals confirms that if an applicant’s initial two-year grant of DACA is expiring, a renewal may be requested as long as the applicant met the initial DACA guidelines and did not depart the United States on or after August 15, 2012, without advance parole; has continuously resided in the United States since submission of the most recent DACA request that was approved; and has not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. USCIS recommends submitting the renewal request about 120 days (4 months) before the applicant’s current period of deferred action will expire. However, the request may be rejected if it is submitted more than 150 days before the current period expires. An applicant must complete and sign the necessary forms with the filing fee. USCIS has stated that no new documents should be submitted unless there are new documents involving removal proceedings or a criminal history that was not previously submitted to USCIS.
DACA has been a life-changing program for many talented young people, and USCIS’s strong commitment to the program is admirable. Please contact us if you would like to assistance with a DACA renewal, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of your attorneys to determine if you are eligible for DACA.