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DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)

On June 15, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security issued a Memorandum authorizing certain people who came to the United States as children and who meet several guidelines to request consideration of deferred action for a period of 2 years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible to request work authorization and advance parole. 

Deferred action is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status, but it can allow for other avenues to obtain residency through family members or an employer. 

Our firm has seen people fail to renew and lose out on opportunities for residency. Therefore, it is important to continue renewing, maintaining a clear criminal record, finishing your GED, learning English, and obtaining your advance parole document if you entered unlawfully.

According to the Memorandum Initial applicants for DACA had to meet the following requirements:

  • They were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  • Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the time of filing your request for DACA;
  • Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of filing your request for DACA with USCIS;
  • Had no lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012, and at the time of filing your request for DACA, meaning that:
    • You never had a lawful immigration status on or before June 15, 2012, or
    • Any lawful immigration status or parole that you obtained had expired as of June 15, 2012, and
    • Any lawful status that you had after June 15, 2012, expired or otherwise terminated before you submitted your request for DACA;
  • Are currently enrolled in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Coast Guard or armed forces of the United States; and
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor (that is, a misdemeanor as described in 8 CFR 236.22(b)(6)), or 3 or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Unfortunately, due to the series of lawsuits filed by the States, an applicant for DACA can no longer file an initial application.  Only renewals are being processed.  Initial DACA applicants can file at the moment, but they are not being processed in the foreseeable future.  Remember to prioritize your DACA status and do not let it expire no matter the circumstances.

Types of Parole

Advance Parole

This document must be obtained by apply alien who has a pending application for certain immigration benefits in order to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad. Failure to obtain this document prior to departure could cause severe consequences, i.e. inadmissibility, denial of visa or residency.

You can obtain advance parole if you:

  • Filed an application for adjustment of status and had a lawful entry, but have not received a decision from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;
  • Hold refugee or asylee status and intend to depart temporarily to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa in Canada; and/or
  • An emergent personal or bona fide reason to travel temporarily abroad.  DACA and TPS applicants have to prove this need when applying for advance parole.

Pathway to Residency

If you have DACA or TPS and had an unlawful entry, you might qualify to apply for advance parole in order to obtain that lawful entry needed to adjust your status through a USC immediate family member. 

Parole in Place

This is a parole specifically designed for certain family members (spouses, parents, and children under 21) of eligible U.S. armed forces. This parole allows those eligible to be paroled in place for a certain amount of time, usually a year, with renewals allowed every year. This process can help you apply for other immigration benefits such as work authorization, adjustment of status and more. This parole allows you to gain that lawful entry that you may need to adjust your status.

In order to apply for PIP, the service member must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Be an active-duty member of the US armed forces, this can include the National Guard,
  •  A military veteran that was not dishonorably discharged (living or deceased)
  • A member of the selected reserve of the ready reserve

This application is a discretionary parole and requires that the spouse, parent, or child of the military member, in most cases, be admissible.  There are exceptions.  Please contact our office so that we can help assist you through the process. 

Country-Specific Parole

There are special programs for nationals from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, with each having specific guidelines and requirements​​.

The U.S. government, at times, will create humanitarian parole programs tailored to people whose countries are undergoing some sort of disaster or civil strife. The Uniting for Ukraine program is a current example. 

Contact Our Experienced Immigration Law Attorneys

A key consideration is that these discretionary avenues have specific requirements and filing processes that must be met. An attorney experienced in immigration law can help you navigate the criteria for these different types of applications. Zepeda Law Firm prides itself on developing strategies carefully to suit your particular case, and we will offer constant legal, as well as moral support to you and your family. Contact Zepeda Law Firm today for your initial consultation.