What Is DACA? What You Need to Know to Get Help

What is DACA? What You Need to Know to get help | N400 Law

Many US immigrants may wonder “what is DACA” and whether this program applies to them.


Immigration laws in the U.S. are extremely complex, yet to comply with all laws and restrictions, it is crucial for people to fully understand these rules. This article presents a deep dive into “what is DACA”, perhaps one of the major immigration programs in the country, who is eligible, and how an individual can apply for it.


What Is DACA?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an administrative relief designed to protect immigrants who came to the United States when they were children from deportation.

DACA holders must renew both their status and work permit once every 2 years.

Under DACA, eligible immigrants can:

  • Be protected from deportation
  • And receive a work permit

Who Is Eligible for DACA?

Primarily, the DACA program was designed to protect the children of immigrants who entered the United States without valid documentation. However, the program also imposes several other criteria for eligibility. To be awarded status, applicants must:

Is DACA Still Available in 2022?

The program was created by the Obama administration in 2012 by executive order. Later on, the Trump administration announced its plans to end DACA in September 2017, effectively beginning its plan to phase out the program. The Biden administration then reinstated the program in January 2021 by executive order.

There are still some legal disputes regarding the program, but as it stands, first-time applicants will not have their applications processed, per the ruling of a federal judge in July 2021. The judge also ruled DACA is unlawful.

In September 2021, the Biden administration appealed this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, but on October 5, 2022, the Court of Appeals published a decision where it stated that DACA is illegal.

Currently, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accepts but does not process first-time DACA applications. However, USCIS continues to accept and process the applications of current DACA recipients for DACA renewal, employment authorization, and advance parole requests.

What Is DACA? What You Need to Know to Get Help

Should One Still Submit DACA Applications?

Currently, DACA first-time applications will remain in a state of limbo. If a person files a first-time application, the USCIS will only issue the receipt notice which will show the payment for the fees has been processed. The application itself will remain untouched as long as the Texas v. United States court order still stands.

At this time, it’s impossible to predict how long this court decision will remain in effect, or even what will happen to already submitted applications after a final decision in this case is reached.

DACA First Application and Renewals

First-time DACA applicants can still submit their files to USCIS. However, the applications will not be reviewed or processed. They must include:

    • Supporting documents such as proof a person entered the US before the age of 16, of education, veteran status, or no criminal history;
    • The forms I-821D (“Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”) and I-765 (“Application for Employment Authorization Document”)

All forms and fees must be mailed to the USCIS. Additionally, first-time applicants need to set up a biometric appointment at a local USCIS Application Support center.

For DACA renewals, applicants will have to provide:

USCIS recommends submitting the application for DACA renewals around 120-150 days before the current status expires.

DACA Unapproved Applications: Is There a Risk for Deportation?

People who applied for DACA before July 15, 2021, but did not get approved may understandably be worried about the possibility of deportation.

Both the Biden administration and the DHS have said DACA recipients are not a deportation priority. The federal judge who issued the July 2021 ruling also stated that the court decision does not require any action against a DACA recipient or applicant.

How N400 Harbor Immigration Law Firm Can Help

DACA is a rather politically-charged program and we understand that many applicants and recipients can feel rather overwhelmed at this time.

If you are still wondering “what is DACA?” and “am I eligible?” The N400 Harbor Immigration Law Firm is here to help. We provide free virtual consultations via Zoom for your convenience to analyze your case and provide you with expert legal support.

To get started, you can fill out our online form and tell us a bit about your case.

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