The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protects undocumented individuals who entered the United States as children. Those who met the application requirements were protected from deportation and given a two-year, renewable work visa. However, DACA does not provide legal status or offer a pathway to citizenship.
In 2017, Department of Homeland Security ruled to end the DACA program. The decision would affect hundreds of thousands of young people who would no longer be able to work in the United states and would now face deportation. The program was later put on hold while litigation ensued to determine if this decision was constitutional.
To the relief of many, a U.S. appeals court in California, recently ruled that President Trump’s administration must continue the DACA.
Although this is good news for many Dreamers and their families, it may not be over yet. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports that while they will accept applications for renewals, they are currently not accepting new applications.
For those that qualify for a DACA renewal, it is extremely important to submit the application on time and meet all the requirements. Those who plan to apply for a renewal will need:
- Required forms
- Filing fee or proof of exemption
- Proof of previous work authorization
However, even those who submit the required documents on time can be denied renewal, and often the reasons for this denial are unclear to the applicant. In fact, many late applications have been connected to post office delays in delivery. Other common reasons for renewal rejections include missing fees or paperwork that was completed incorrectly.
If an application is denied due to a post office delay or other common error, USCIS may invite a rejected renewal applicant to reapply. However, in many cases the denial is final. Although at this point it may appear there is no recourse, denied applicants should speak to a Philadelphia immigration lawyer about their next steps.
DACA and Legal Resident Status
Currently, there is no direct path for those protected by DACA to become citizens of the United States. Although there may appear to several routes available to do so, the paths to citizenship are often complicated and expensive.
- Family Sponsor: An immediate family member who is a US citizen can sponsor a green card.
- Employer Sponsor: Employers can sponsor employees for citizenship, but it is complicated and costly process.
- Advance Parole: With one of the above sponsors, a non-citizen could leave the U.S. to work and then return to obtain a green card.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Assist Clients with Status Adjustments
If your DACA renewal was denied or you are concerned about how your non-citizen status may affect the future of your family, a Philadelphia immigration lawyer at Surin & Griffin, P.C. can determine what the appropriate course is for your personal situation. We will work on your behalf to submit all the necessary documentation to USCIS and avoid common complications, which can make the citizen process seem uncertain and overwhelming. Call 215-925-4435 or contact us online today to schedule a consultation. Based in Center City, we are proud to represent clients in and around the city of Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania.