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On August 15th, 2012 US Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS") will begin accepting applications for Deferred Action pursuant to a memorandum issued by Janet Napolitano on June 15th 2012.
Deferred Action is a discretionary decision where Department of Homeland Security (“DHS") will not pursue deportation/removal against a qualifying individual for a specified period of time. Deferred Action does not confer a lawful immigration status or provide a path to citizenship, however, while on deferred action an individual will not accrue unlawful presence and will be able to obtain Employment Authorization.
In order to be eligible for DACA an individual must demonstrate they:
-Were under the age of 31 on June 15th, 2012;
-Arrived in the US before age 16;
-Continuously resided in the US from June 15th, 2007 until present;
-Were physically present in the United States on June 15th, 2012, as well as at the time of the DACA request;
-Entered without inspection or fell out of status before June 15th, 2012;
-As of the date of the application, are in high school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a GED certificate, or are honorably discharged from the US military;
-have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more other misdemeanors, and are not a threat to national security.
Whether you need an attorney or not is a common question posed by potential DACA applicants. Obviously there is no one forcing you to hire anyone, however, being that potential applicants are out of status and that the stakes are so high (deportation and removal) if it is denied, it is wise to utilize a professional. There will be many frauds and “notaries" claiming that they can help you with this, thus it is important to make sure the person you work with is a licensed attorney.
Most attorneys will charge a reasonable fee for DACA applications. Our firm is currently charging $750 per application and there are filing fees totaling $465. This is our standard fee; it is subject to change and does not include any additional criminal or immigration violations.