USCIS Issues New Guidance on DACA – Applications Open Tomorrow

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas and other senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials held a stakeholder conference call on Tuesday, August 14 at 1:00 pm (Eastern) to discuss Secretary Janet Napolitano’s June 15 memorandum. In accordance with the Secretary’s memorandum, USCIS will begin accepting requests for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals on August 15, 2012. During the teleconference, Director Mayorkas provided an overview of the process by which certain young people who came to the United States as children may request deferred action, provided details on the forms to be submitted, and answered questions from interested parties. Additional information on the announcement can be found here:

1. Filing Process

Starting August 15, individuals will be able to submit I-821(D), the Application for Deferred Action. Individuals filing Form I-821D must also file Form I-765Application for Employment Authorizationand Form I-765WS, Form I-765 Worksheet. The forms will have the addresses of where to file the application. USCIS will inspect if all required documents have been submitted and if the application is complete, USCIS will send an I-797 receipt of notice. Then, USCIS will ask individuals to visit an application support center for biometrics. Insufficient evidence will result in an RFE or an interview. Individuals will receive decision of their application in writing and also separately receive a work permit. Mayorkas says that individuals would be able to check the status of their applications online and that the process will take several months.

2. Education

To be considered currently in school, you must be enrolled in public or private elementary school, middle school or high school OR be in an education, literary or career training program that leads to placement in post-secondary education, job training or employment. This means individuals in GED programs will be eligible to apply as they are currently in school. Circumstantial evidence will not be accepted in relation to proving that you are currently in school or have completed education requirements already.

3. Confidentiality

USCIS says that it will not share with ICE any information that is submitted about parents or guardians in relation to the application for the purpose of initiating removal proceedings. But that information may be shared with national security matters, including ICE and the CBP.

4. Age

Individuals who are not yet 15 and not in removal proceedings will be able to request deferred action when they turn 15. Currently, there is no deadline for the application period.

5. Final Orders of Removal

Individuals with final orders of removal should file for deferred action with USCIS and see if they are granted. They can then follow-up with ICE Office of Chief Counsel to vacate the order.

6. Criminal Convictions

Expunged convictions will be treated on an individualized basis.

Forms are available on the deferred action for childhood arrivals program on http://uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals

To schedule a low-cost consultation to determine your eligibility for deferred action with Benach Collopy LLP, please call (202) 644 8600 for an appointment.

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