Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Some immigrants were brought to the United States as children and, through no fault of their own, now have no legal status or citizenship in the United States. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a step toward addressing this problem.

What is DACA?

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It is an immigration policy instituted in 2012 through an executive order signed by President Barack Obama and implemented by the Department of Homeland Security. DACA provides a legal means for some immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to stay in the United States. Deferred action under DACA simply means that the government agrees not to pursue deportation proceedings against the individual for a period of two years. This deferred action is renewable, but it is important to note that it does not confer lawful status upon the immigrant.

Who is eligible for DACA?

To be eligible for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals, applicants must meet certain criteria. To apply for consideration of deferred action, an applicant must:

  • Have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, and over the age of 15 at the time of application
  • Have arrived in the United States prior to their 16th birthday
  • Have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
  • Have been present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and on the date on which the applicant made the DACA request with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • Had no legal immigration status on June 15, 2012
  • Be currently in school or have graduated from high school, received a general education development (GED) certificate, or be a veteran of the U.S. military who was honorably discharged
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors
  • Not pose a threat to public safety or national security

What does deferred action for childhood arrivals mean?

Deferred action for childhood arrivals means that some undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children can apply for deferred action from deportation. This deferred action is granted for a period of two years and is renewable. Being approved for consideration of deferred action does not grant the individual lawful permanent resident status or a path to citizenship.

How can I apply for DACA?

DACA applicants will need to complete two forms and one worksheet: I-821D (Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), and I-765W (Worksheet). Individuals making DACA requests will also need to submit documents as evidence that they meet the guidelines for the DACA program, as outlined above. These documents may include:

  • Proof of identity in the form of:
  • A passport or identity document from your country of origin
  • Your birth certificate along with a photo ID
  • School or military ID with a photo
  • Any U.S. government immigration or other document which includes your name and photo
  • Proof you came to the U.S. before your 16th birthday in the form of:
  • Your passport with admission stamp
  • Form I-94, I-95, or I-94W
  • School records from schools you attended in the U.S.
  • Any document from the Department of Homeland Security or the Immigration and Naturalization Service which includes proof of your date of entry to the U.S.
  • Travel records
  • Medical or hospital records
  • Tax receipts
  • Insurance policies
  • Deeds, mortgages, or rental agreements
  • Motor vehicle license or registration receipts
  • Bank records
  • Birth certificates of children born in the U.S.
  • Money order receipts
  • Employment records
  • Official religious records confirming that you participated in a religious ceremony
  • Proof of immigration status in the form of:
  • Form I-94, I-95, or I-94W with an authorized stay expiration date
  • A final order of deportation, removal, or exclusion issued before June 15, 2012
  • A charging document placing you into removal proceedings
  • Proof of presence in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and proof of continuous residence in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, in the form of:
  • School, military, or employment records
  • Utility bills or rent receipts
  • Money order receipts
  • Official records from a religious ceremony
  • Birth certificates of children born in the U.S.
  • Bank records
  • Passport entries
  • Motor vehicle registration or license records
  • Deeds, mortgages, or rental agreements
  • Tax receipts and insurance policies
  • Proof that you were a student at the time of your DACA application in the form of:
  • School records such as report cards or transcripts
  • U.S. high school diploma or GED certificate
  • Proof that you are an honorably discharged U.S. military veteran in the form of:
  • Military personnel or health records
  • Form DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
  • NGB Form 22, National Guard Report of Separation and Record of Service

Can you legally work if you have been granted deferred action?

Applicants who have been granted deferred action are eligible for employment authorization documents, but this is a separate authorization. You will need to submit a work authorization request in addition to the deferred action request, and if approved you will receive work authorization as a separate document.

Future of DACA

Needless to say, DACA is a controversial political issue. The Trump Administration attempted to phase out DACA, stopped accepting new applications, and limited DACA renewals to one year. However, a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June 2020 saved the DACA program by ruling that a plan to end the program could not immediately proceed due to the manner of the rescission being improper. The Supreme Court decision thus did not rule on the legality of the DACA program itself but allowed it to remain in place nonetheless. This Supreme Court ruling ordered the federal government to again begin accepting applications for DACA, which it had previously suspended. Previous one-year deferred action and employment authorization documents were also extended to two years. DACA was still in peril, however, since the Trump Administration was still permitted to attempt to rescind the program in a legal manner in the future under the Supreme Court ruling.

Throughout his 2020 campaign for President of the United States, Joe Biden pledged his support for the DACA program. On January 20, 2021, in one of his first acts as president, Joe Biden issued an executive order reinstating DACA.

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Caring and compassionate, Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez is a Florida immigration attorney dedicated to producing the results her clients need. She has over 17 years of experience helping both corporate and individual clients with an emphasis in employment/investment cases and family adjustment cases.

As the Managing Attorney at Florida Immigration Law Counsel, Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez and her team are capable of representing and helping individuals looking to attain a Family VisaWork Visa, and Citizenship/Naturalization. Her experience successfully representing clients in front of the Department of Justice for cases involving Deportation/Removal Proceedings will lead to success in your case.

Her experience and expertise in immigration litigation has led to multiple Avvo awards and other accolades, including the Clients’ Choice for 2017 Immigration Attorney. Her clients also consistently post positive reviews on her Facebook page. Her experience has also allowed her to teach a new generation of lawyers as an adjunct professor of law at Nova Southeastern University, and she also regularly gives speeches on immigration matters.

Counselor Gonzalez is also experienced in helping corporate clients through the process of filing for Employment Visas, Labor Certifications, and Business and Investment Visas with the Department of Labor. She takes on the entire case from start to finish, simplifying the process for her clients and allowing them to focus on their business.

Fluent in English, Spanish, and Farsi – Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez is dedicated to making her clients feel comfortable and assured in making her their go-to immigration attorney in Florida. Her goal is to ensure that those who want to live the American dream have a professional fighting for them and making the process as painless as possible.

Saman’s passion for immigration law stems from her personal life as the daughter of immigrants. Her parents were recipients of the student F1 visa in 1971. Her father came into this country with the goal to improve his life and the life of his children. He earned a PhD in Civil Engineering and Business, instilling in his daughter a strong work ethic that she carries to this day. Saman saw firsthand what it means to be an immigrant and achieve the American Dream.

Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez can personally understand the struggle of immigrants and the children of immigrants navigating through the bureaucratic process of immigration law. Because of this, she dedicates herself fully and provides her personal attention to every case. She prides herself on developing a strong relationship with each and every client, and she is not afraid of pushing the envelope and looking for answers where other attorneys have failed.

Saman Movassaghi makes it her goal to provide you with only the best representation for immigration matters because she believes it’s time for you to live the American dream!