Ep. 15 What is the modified Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?

Raw Transcript:

Introduction: You ask we answer your immigration questions. Simple. And now your host immigration lawyer Jacob Sapochnick.

Jacob: Hello everybody. Thanks for joining for another episode of Ask An Immigration Lawyer. And we continue a series of breaking down some important issues of the executive action announcement by President Obama on November 20th. In previous episodes we talked about the way it’s going to be enforced, implemented and the new DAPA program.

In this episode I get a lot of questions. People are confused how the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) is different from this new DAPA for parents. What are some of the key differences, some of the key benefits so I’ll try to kind of [inaudible 00:00:53] by that.

So Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is also prosecutorial discretion type of deal, administered by USCIS and that provides kind of a temporary relief from removal, deportation and work authorization to certain young people brought to the United States as children and they are called Dreamers. The dreamers that are here. The DREAM Act has never passed so they are the dreamers. And DACA doesn’t offer a pathway to citizenship or legalization. It’s basically a two-year work permit that gave almost a half a million kids the right to stay here and work, get a social security and basically become part of our society which is great.

DACA has been modified on November 20th 2014 by Obama, by the President, based on his announcement. And what he said, what he’s going to do he said he’s going to eliminate the age ceiling from this [inaudible 00:01:50]. He’s going to make it individuals who began living here before January 1st of 2010 eligible as well. Before that they had to be here before 2007 and also they had to … they can be over the age of 30. So it was pretty limiting. And now they had to be actually under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. So anybody who came here after that was not eligible.

Also they had to live here continuously since June 15 2007. So between 2007 and 2012 we had a particular bracket of residency and anybody that came here before June 15, 2007 was not eligible so now the President pretty much lifted that. And then the administration announced that deferred action also allows an employment authorization as of November 24, 2014. So it’s going to last for three years instead of two years as it was before.

So the problem with DACA before is that we had a very, very specific category of people who could qualify. They had to be here since June of 2007, continuously residing here, and they couldn’t be … they had to be under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012 so it was pretty limiting.

So now it’s definitely helpful because they expanded it. These are some of the major changes that happen, that’s not going to be more … In two years they’re going to be three years, they work permanent. USA will continue to take applications and renewals under the current eligibility criteria, not under the new one, but those that are going to be eligible of the new criteria they’re going to be able to apply about 90 days after the announcement once we have the regulations.

So this is some of the main reasons, some of the main changes in the DACA. People always ask me how many of these people are going to be affected by this. We think that almost 5 million unauthorized immigrants could be affected by DACA and DAPA program so that’s pretty … that’s a large number. It’s something that is important and … But we don’t know. We don’t know until it’s actually going to start. The numbers are definitely going to help more and more people to apply is definitely as expanded.

And people always say, well, if I’m going to be applying for this how I’m going to be sure that they’re not going to deport me in the meantime. So Department of Homeland Security instructed officials in both immigration, ICE, and Customs and board of protection to identify the expanded DACA and DAPA eligible individuals who are already in their custody and removal proceedings, schedule for deportations or just … the people that they catch now.
And to really exercise this question either release them or not detain them if they feel that they may be eligible under this new guidelines which is great. Because people who’ve been hiding and afraid, if they feel that they’re going to meet under this criteria it will make them less stressed about being caught by immigration and be deported. And so that’s great.

This is some of the questions that I wanted to cover in this particular short episode. If you have more questions feel free to email me jacob@askanimmigrationlawyer.com and feel free to give us any comments and we’ll see you at our next episode. Thanks a lot.

Closing: Thank you for listening to the Ask My Immigration Lawyer Podcast, the show that’s dedicated to answering your immigration questions. Simple as that. See you next week for another round of questions and much needed answers.