The “Dream Act” (providing an avenue for immigration legalization to youths who came to the United States undocumented, as minors, usually with their parents) never got signed into law. However, there is still some relief to these youths. You may qualify for Consideration for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (a discretionary benefit) or “DACA,” if you:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 (i.e., you have not had your 31st birthday 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 present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- Are currently 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 Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor,or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
If you are approved for DACA, you are legally permitted to remain in the U.S., and you may be granted work authorization. It is not immigrant status, and you will not get a green card (not under current laws, at least). But it will enable you to seek the best employment options available to you, openly and legally.
If you believe that you may be eligible for DACA, please call our office and Alison Yew will provide a free evaluation.