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What is DACA?

April 23, 2021

On June 15, 2012, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under the Obama administration announced a new immigration policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This policy allows certain people who came to this country as children to request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. Those that qualify are also eligible for work authorization. However, it must be noted that DACA does not provide lawful status and does not establish a pathway to residency and citizenship. Who Qualifies for DACA? Those under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; Those who came to U.S. before their 16th birthday; You must also be at least 15 years or older to request DACA, unless you are currently in removal proceedings or have a final removal or voluntary departure order. Those who have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, to the present; Those physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and at the time of the DACA request; Those who had no lawful status on June 15, 2012, meaning that: You never had lawful immigration status before June 12, 2012, or Any lawful immigration status or parole that you obtained prior to June 15, 2012, had expired as of June 15, 2012; Those 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 Those who 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. A minor traffic offense will not be considered a misdemeanor for purposes of DACA. Driving under the influence is a significant misdemeanor regardless of the sentence. You can find detailed information in the Criminal Convictions section of the Frequently Asked Questions on USCIS.

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Public Charge Final Rule

February 7, 2020

UPDATE: As of February 24, 2020, the public charge rule has been implemented nationwide after the Supreme Court stayed the limited state-wide injunction in Illinois against the Department of Homeland Security.  At the same time, the Department of State also began implementing its amended public charge rule, and visa applicants from abroad should prepare Form DS-5540 ahead of their visa interview in case the consular officer requests it.  For more information read the announcement on the Department of State's website.    On January 30, 2020 the USCIS announced that it will resume enforcing the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule (“Final Rule”) and begin implementing it on February 24, 2020. Foreign nationals who are applying for visas and green cards from within the United States — through a process known as “Adjustment of Status” — will be subject to the Final Rule starting on February 24, 2020.  For visa applicants who are outside of the country, the Final Rule has not yet been implemented. The Department of State announced in October 2019 to delay enforcement until they first finalized their own information collection form and changes that they would need to make to their policy manual. The Final Rule had originally become effective on October 15, 2019 but was enjoined due to litigation after lawsuits were filed to prevent the Trump Administration’s attempt to enforce the Public Charge rule, which was seen as an effort to expand the government’s ability to deny access to green cards or visas for legal immigrants who would become dependent on public assistance. On January 27, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the injunction and allowed the Final Rule to go forward, with exception to the State of Illinois, where the Final Rule remains enjoined. This article offers information concerning the Final Public Charge Rule, what factors will be taken into consideration, and which individuals are likely to be affected by the change. Background on the Public Charge Rule Who is subject to the public charge inadmissibility ground? Unless specifically exempted by Congress, all foreign individuals seeking immigrant or nonimmigrant visas abroad are subject to the public charge inadmissibility ground, as are individuals seeking admission to the United States on immigrant or nonimmigrant visas, and individuals seeking to adjust their status. In certain cases, even lawful permanent residents returning from a trip abroad will be subject to inadmissibility determinations, depending on the circumstances. Immigrants who have been exempted by Congress from the public charge ground of inadmissibility include refugees, asylees, and Afghans and Iraqis with special immigrant visas. For a general overview and developments in this area read our previous articles here.

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