by Sherrod Seward, Partner, Queen City Immigration Law
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allows undocumented children who arrived in the United States before their 16th birthday and before 2007 to be exempt from removal proceedings. Another important aspect of the program is that DACA beneficiaries also receive a two year renewable work permit. It is estimated that there are almost two million people currently in the United States that could benefit from the DACA program.
If initially eligible for the DACA program based upon arrival to the United States, the likelihood that USCIS will approve the petition is very high. Submitting a DACA petition requires the preparation of a form I-821D along with supporting evidence and a form I-765, which is for employment authorization. Thus far, the USCIS has denied only about 4% of applicants for the DACA that qualify based on childhood arrival guidelines.
Where most petitioners experience difficulty with the DACA is correctly timing up the renewal for the two year work permit. There is a very thin window for the appropriate time to file the renewal. It is very important that DACA petitioners submit their renewal applications between 150-120 days of the expiration date. The USCIS may deny the application if it is submitted too early and the renewal can take up to 120 Days. A petitioner that misses the time to renew DACA on time will lose authorization to work. This could lead to a myriad of issues including losing a job, drivers license, and protection from deportation. Luckily, there is relief in that you may still file a DACA renewal up to one year after expiration.
Although rare, DACA petitions can be denied. For example, this can occur if the petitioner has a criminal record. DACA can be denied to a person that has committed a felony or a serious misdemeanor. In the case of a denial, there is no appeal to the decision. The petitioner must start the process again and pay the filing fee. If your denial was because of criminal history, the new petition must address the criminal history with convincing evidence that the petitioner has learned from mistakes is not a threat to national security or public safety.
The attorneys at Queen City Immigration Law are at the ready to evaluate each DACA case and assist petitioners in obtaining the approval.