Friday, January 30, 2015

Feds to Start Accepting DACA Requests Under New Guidelines Mid-February

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Immigrants who came to the U.S. before they were 16 years old and have lived in the country continuously since Jan. 1, 2010 can start applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals under its new set of rules starting Feb. 18.

In November, President Obama expanded the deferred action program to undocumented parents of U.S. citizen and resident children (who have no criminal background, among other requirements), relieving about 5 million of them from deportation and granting them work permits with what's been now referred to as DAPA.

Also among his immigration actions were changes to DACA, which expanded the number of people eligible for the program.

When Obama first issued DACA in 2012, the requirements were to have entered before turning 16, to have lived in the U.S. continuously since June 15, 2007 and to have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, in order to apply for the two-year, renewable program. Thanks to Obama's immigration action, there is now no age restriction to apply, you can re-apply for the program every three years, and you have to had lived here continuously since January 2010. 

Don't send your application before Feb. 18, because U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will not take them. (Their website has not updated this information, by the way. They still list the old guidelines.)

Among the requirements to qualify are having no criminal background, being in school or having completed high school or have a GED. The application fee is $465.

If you need help with the process, visit Scholarships A-Z Facebook page. They often have DACA clinics, where they help you apply.

As for parents, they won't be able to start applying for deferred action until mid-to-late May, according to USCIS.

For more information, visit this page.

On Jan. 16, the U.S. House passed a bill that tied both funding for the Department of Homeland Security and killing Obama's deferred action programs. 

The Tucson Weekly's Jim Nintzel said this about that on Jan. 22's The Skinny:
Congress passed a spending plan for the department, but tied it to two amendments: One, sponsored by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), would prohibit federal funds from being spent to assist with the Obama administration's expanded program providing deportation relief from up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, while the other, sponsored by Congresswoman Martha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), blocked federal funding for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that has sheltered undocumented youth who were brought to the United States as children from deportation.

The Southern Arizona congressional delegation split along party lines, with Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva and Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick voting against the bill and Congresswoman Martha McSally voting for it.

McSally said she voted for the funding package because it served as the first step toward improving border security.

She added that she supported blocking the Obama administration's executive action on immigration because it "set a dangerous precedent that threatens the very constitutional principles and separation of powers on which our country is founded. It's critical that Congress, as the direct representation of the people, stand up for those principles."

But McSally was one of 26 Republicans who voted against the Blackburn amendment that targeted the DREAM Act kids.

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