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New Jersey Dream Act Lawyer

Deferred Action DACA Initial Applications & DACA Renewals

The Development, Relief and Education Act for Alien Minors Act (The Dream Act) is an Immigration Bill that was originally introduced to the US Congress (the Senate and House) on March 26, 2009. The legislation was intended to provide millions of immigrant children who graduated from U.S. High Schools the opportunity to receive a Green Card.

The legislation was also designed to provide immigration benefits to young immigrants who came to the United States as children, before the age of sixteen, and who had been living in the United States for five continuous years prior to the date of enactment of the Bill.

Conditions for Deferred Action in New Jersey--DACA

Although the Dream Act was proposed in 2009 and in December of 2010, it failed to pass. The Bill was re-introduced by Democrats in both the House and Senate, where it awaited Congressional action. On June 15th, 2012 Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States and who met certain criteria, and who didn't pose a threat to national security would be considered for relief from removal proceedings.

On November 20, 2014, the program was amended by President Obama. Under the directive, those individuals who can show they meet the following criteria will be eligible for deferred action, on a case-by-case basis.

  1. Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  2. Have lived in the United States continuously for 5 years beginning on January 1st 2010;
  3. Are currently attending school, have graduated a U.S. High School, or obtained a GED, or are honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces;
  4. Haven't been convicted of any serious misdemeanor crimes, multiple misdemeanors, or any felonies, and are not a threat to public safety or national security; and
  5. The prior age cap of 30 has been eliminated. Therefore, individuals who meet the above four (4) requirements may apply regardless of their current age.

The deferred action grant is valid for three (3) years. In order to qualify for deferred action, individuals must be able to verify that they have met the above criteria. Those who cannot prove that they have been in the United States for five (5) consecutive years starting on January 1st 2010 will not be eligible for consideration.

On June 5th, 2014 Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced the process for individuals to renew enrollment in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

As of June 5th 2014, USCIS began accepting renewal requests for DACA card holders whose cards expire in 150 days or less. USCIS will also continue to accept requests for new DACA cases from individuals who have not previously sought to access the program. As of April 2014, more than 560,000 individuals have received DACA.

The first DACA approvals will expire in September 2014. To avoid a lapse in the period of deferral and employment authorization, individuals must file renewal requests before the expiration of their current period of DACA. USCIS strongly encourages requestors to submit their renewal request approximately 120 days (four months) but no more than 150 days (five months) before their current period of deferred action expires.

USCIS is expecting processing delays for the renewal applications. To avoid losing permission to work legally, protection from deportation, drivers licenses, instate tuition benefits and to assure that one does not accumulate illegal presence (if you were under 18 when you first applied) applicants must apply as early as possible.

If an applicant applies early and experience delays USCIS has advised that they will extend DACA benefits temporarily while they process the application. If you apply late you will lose your benefits until the application is approved.

DACA is a discretionary determination to defer removal action against an individual. Individuals in DACA will be able to remain in the United States and apply for employment authorization for a period of three (3) years. Individuals who have not requested DACA previously, but meet the criteria established, may also request deferral for the first time. It is important to note that individuals who have not continuously resided in the United States since January 1, 2010 are ineligible for DACA.

You may request a DACA renewal if you meet the following criteria:

  • You have not departed from the United States on or after August 15, 2012 without advance parole
  • You continue to reside in the United States since submitting your most recent approved DACA request
  • You have not been convicted of a significant crime, such as a felony or significant misdemeanor
  • You do not pose any threat to public safety or national security

You can begin the renewal process by filing a new DACA application form and employment authorization form.

The government filing fee is $465.00 and there is a fingerprint requirement. Please call our office if you wish to discuss renewing your DACA card. At that time we will discuss the office legal fee and what additional documents are required with the application. We will also answer any additional questions you may have.

For more information, you can visit USCIS's website at www.uscis.gov, ICE's website at www.ice.gov, or DHS's website at www.dhs.gov. You can also click here to view the guidelines.

Get Immigration Assistance from our New Jersey Lawyer - Call 800-909-8129

This is good news for young immigrants already facing removal proceedings. Under the new policy, those facing removal proceedings that have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria and have been offered an exercise of discretion by the ICE, the ICE will begin offering them deferred action for a three (3) year period, subject to renewal.

At The Law Offices of Lloyd E. Bennett, Esq., P.C., we have been practicing immigration law since 1987, over which time we have helped over 10,000 immigrants with their immigration matters. Our firm stays abreast of all recent changes to immigration laws in an effort to better serve our immigrant clients. If you would like to learn more about the recent changes to immigration policy, contact a New Jersey immigration attorney from our firm today.

Education Requirements

According the USCIS, "currently in school" means that you must be enrolled in a school when you submit your request for deferred action. This includes public or private elementary schools, junior high schools, middle schools, high schools or secondary schools.

Additionally, the requirement refers to education programs, job training, vocational training or a literacy education program that is designed to encourage placement in some form of postsecondary education. In order to demonstrate that you are enrolled in school or a similar program, you must provide evidence to support your claim. To demonstrate that you have graduated from highs school, you may present a high school diploma or GED certificate. You could also show a certificate of complete, certificate of attendance or alternate award from your school.

DACA to Green Card

Most people who obtained a DACA card originally entered the US “without inspection." This make is difficult but not impossible to become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

DACA card holders are eligible to apply for permission to travel outside the U.S. (advanced parole) under the following limited circumstances:

  • Humanitarian
  • Employment
  • Education

If you obtain “advance parole” to travel abroad, when you return to the U.S., you last admission would be considered a lawful entry. Thereafter, if you marry a US Citizen or have a child over the age of 21 you can immediately apply for a green card from within the US. Do not apply for any benefit before talking to an experienced immigration lawyer.

Do I need a lawyer?

You might think that the deferred action for childhood arrivals application process looks simple, or maybe you feel overwhelmed by paperwork ahead of you. If you want legal advice and assistance concerning your application, talk to an attorney. Only a New Jersey Immigration Lawyer can give you legal advice; a notary cannot. During the application process, you will have to fill out and file forms and provide evidence and documentation to support your claims. At best, the process is confusing. If you fill out a form incorrectly or miss a deadline, your application may be automatically denied. Denial could easily lead to complicated immigration court proceedings.

Talk to an attorney from the firm to see how we can help you application process move efficiently and smoothly. Call our office today and schedule an initial consultation. During this time, we well take your immigration history into consideration. Additionally, we will look at the immigration status of your family and loved ones. At the firm, we have been practicing law since 1987 and have helped thousands of immigration clients obtain status

Contact us today to see what an immigration attorney from The Law Offices of Lloyd E. Bennett, Esq., P.C. can do for you. With a high-quality attorney from the firm fighting for you, you can have peace of mind that your case is in capable hands.