In 2012, President Barack Obama enacted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program offers young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States with their parents protection from deportation. Under DACA, these children were given opportunities just like American children. They were allowed to go to school and further their education so they could work.
President Donald Trump did away with this program in September, leaving hundreds of thousands of immigrants anxious about their future. In fact, ending DACA has affected 689,000 immigrants between the ages of 15 and 36.
But not all hope is gone yet. Congress has until March 5 to come up with an alternative. But if Congress doesn’t meet that deadline, DACA recipients will lose their ID cards, work authorization and educational benefits. This means they won’t be able to drive, work or attend college. Those caught driving without a license can be deported. After March 5, 918 immigrants will face deportation daily.
Of the 689,000 people in the DACA program, 20 percent are in middle school or high school. Forty-four percent are high school graduates. Eighteen percent are in college and 4 percent have a bachelor’s degree. More than 30 percent hold down a job while in school. Approximately 400,000 are employed, many in mid-skilled jobs. Many work as teachers, social workers, managers and health care workers.
The DACA program is not an alternative for U.S. citizenship. It simply delays deportation for a period of two years. It offers recipients the ability to work, attend school and live in the United States. DACA requests are not being accepted at this time.
It was available to immigrants who came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday. Applicants had to be between the ages of 15 and 31 as of June 15, 2012. They must have lived in the U.S. since 2010. They must currently be enrolled in school, have a GED or be honorably discharged from the military. Applicants must also have no felonies on their criminal record and must not be considered a safety threat.
Young immigrants are also known as DREAMers, taken from the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. It takes a lot of courage for young people to admit they are undocumented immigrants, but by coming forward, they can get a Social Security card and other documents so they can pursue the American dream.
DREAMers face an uncertain future. To qualify for deferred action, they must take the appropriate steps in a timely manner. Without the right application materials, they could be deported.
To qualify for DACA, it’s important that you seek legal assistance right away to secure your residency in America. The knowledgeable immigration attorneys at Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC can help relieve your anxiety so you can focus on success. To get help with your immigration and citizenship needs in Illinois, give us a call today at (312) 332-2550 for a case evaluation.
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