Possible Expansion to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has made a significant difference in the lives of thousands of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. The program was announced in June 2012 and provides protection from deportation, and work permits to qualifying immigrants.
It is expected that President Obama will expand the program to make it possible for even more undocumented immigrants to participate. Currently, immigrants who entered the U.S. after June 15, 2007, are not eligible to apply for relief. Under the proposed action, the cut-off date will be changed from June 15, 2017to January 1, 2010. This alone would make an estimated 300,000 undocumented immigrants eligible for protection and work permits under the program.
The proposal is also expected to modify the age of entry requirement from 16 years of age to 18 years of age. To qualify for deferred action, the person applying must have arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16. One of the changes under consideration would extend eligibility to people that arrived in the U.S. before the age of 18.
Additionally, the proposed action could extend the benefits of the deferred action program to segments of the population that were previously excluded. One of the expansions under consideration would make parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents eligible to apply for the deferred action program. To qualify the adult parent would be required to provide proof that they have lived in the U.S. continuously since June 15, 2007.
A major change being considered is eliminating the current education requirement. Under existing criteria, to qualify for deferred action a person must have a high school diploma, general education diploma (GED), or be currently enrolled in school. If this requirement is eliminated, it is estimated that an additional 400,000 undocumented immigrants would be eligible for deferred action.
Under the current requirements, a conviction for a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors would make an applicant ineligible for deferred action. This requirement is expected to remain unchanged.
Any of the proposed changes would significantly expand the deferred action program. To an undocumented immigrant, protection from deportation equalspeace of mind, while a work permit allows them to improve their quality of life.
An experienced attorney can help you determine if you qualify for the deferred action program, and assist with the application process.