Massachusetts DACA Lawyer
If you entered the United States without lawful status or remained in the U.S. when your lawful status expired, you feel the daily stress of worrying that the life you’ve built here may be stripped away in an instant if you are detained and placed into removal proceedings. If you were brought here as a child, the threat of deportation can be devastating. You likely had no choice in coming to the U.S. unlawfully, and if you were brought here as a young child, the United States may be the only home you know.
Fortunately, the immigration system has a program for individuals without lawful status who came to the U.S. as children. This program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), defers the threat of deportation or removal for a renewable two-year period. Those who are eligible for the program and are granted DACA status may continue to reside in the U.S. and may even be able to lawfully work, open bank accounts, or obtain driver’s licenses in certain states.
DACA has multiple eligibility requirements. An individual wishing to apply for DACA status may need to assemble substantial supporting documentation to establish his or her eligibility for the program. Legal assistance from an experienced DACA attorney can ensure your application is complete and all your documentation is in order.
If you are considering applying for DACA, contact the Massachusetts immigration lawyers of Brooks Law today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We can explain your options and walk you through the complex DACA application process.
What Is DACA?
DACA is a program that was established by executive order in 2012. Under DACA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses its discretionary authority not to pursue removal proceedings against certain individuals who came to the United States as children and who are currently residing in the U.S. without lawful status. DHS will defer action on removal proceedings for a renewable period of up to two years. Individuals with DACA status also receive authorization to work in the United States.
DACA Eligibility Requirements
DHS may grant DACA status to certain individuals who meet the following eligibility requirements:
- The individual was under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012.
- The individual arrived in the U.S. before his or her 16th birthday.
- The individual entered the U.S. without inspection before June 15, 2012, or his or her lawful immigration status expired before June 15, 2012.
- The individual was physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012.
- The individual is physically present in the U.S. on the date he or she requests DACA.
- The individual is currently in school, has obtained his or her high school diploma or GED, or has been honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces or the U.S. Coast Guard.
- The individual has not been convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor, or three or more minor misdemeanors, and the individual otherwise does not pose a threat to public safety or national security.
How to Apply for DACA
If you believe you meet all the eligibility criteria for DACA status, you may apply for DACA by submitting the following documentation:
- Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
- Forms I-765 and I-765WS to obtain a work permit; however, you will also have to prove that you have an economic need for employment
- Two passport-style photos
- Copies of your foreign passports and former visas, if available
- Birth certificate (and translation)
- U.S. criminal record, including traffic violations
- Copies of school records, high school diploma, or GED
- Copies of military records, if appliable
- Proof that you entered the U.S. before your 16th birthday
You will also need to pay the filing fee of $465 with your application. Failing to submit necessary information or sufficient information to prove you meet each of the eligibility requirements could result in DACA status being delayed or denied.
How an Immigration Lawyer Can Help
A knowledgeable DACA immigration lawyer can ensure that your application has all the documentation and information required to establish your eligibility for DACA status. A lawyer can help you secure information such as your birth certificate from your home country, your education or military service records, your criminal records (if any), and proof that you meet DACA’s entry and residency requirements. If your application is denied, an attorney can advocate for you on appeal.
When you trust an immigration attorney from Brooks Law, you can have peace of mind knowing your DACA application is in the right hands. To learn more about how we can help in your particular situation, contact us now.
Benefits of DACA Status
DACA status provides many benefits, including:
- Deferring removal – Even if you are currently in removal proceedings or you have received a final removal order or a voluntary departure order, you may still apply for DACA. If you are granted status, DHS will defer any further action on your removal.
- Not accruing unlawful presence – If you are granted DACA status, you will not continue to accrue unlawful presence. If you are under 18 years old when you apply for DACA, you will not accrue unlawful presence while your request is pending.
- Work authorization – If you can prove an economic need for employment, you may receive authorization to work in the U.S., including accruing employment benefits
- Ability to attend college or university or vocational school
- Ability to open banking and credit accounts
- Ability to apply for health insurance
- Ability to apply for a driver’s license (in most states)
Unfortunately, DACA status does not grant lawful status, nor does it provide a pathway to lawful permanent residency or naturalization. You will need to speak with your attorney about next steps to understand the best way forward based on your circumstances.
Talk to a Massachusetts DACA Lawyer Now
If you lack lawful status here in the U.S. and believe you may be eligible for DACA, contact Brooks Law today to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable Massachusetts immigration attorney. You shouldn’t have to spend another day with the uncertainty of deportation hanging over your head.
Call us today to speak with a knowledgeable and compassionate attorney who can answer your questions and help you navigate the DACA application process.