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Top DACA Lawyers in Phoenix, AZ
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The Ybarra Maldonado Law Group has leading DACA lawyers in Phoenix with extensive knowledge of immigration law. Our lawyers have persistently fought for and supported the undocumented immigrants in our community. Not only can we help you with properly filling out a DACA application, but an experienced Phoenix immigration lawyer can also help you with all other immigration matters. For more information on how to potentially change your DACA status, call us today at 602-910-4040.
What Is DACA?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, is a policy that prevents the federal government from deporting people who came to the U.S. as children. President Barack Obama announced the policy on June 15, 2012. DACA allows some people to apply for deferred action for a period of two years. Deferred action means delaying deportation. If an immigrant is granted deferred action, then they can potentially receive an employment authorization document.
What Is the Purpose of DACA?
DACA isn’t a path to permanent residency, a green card, or U.S. citizenship. Its main purpose is to delay the deportation of young immigrants in the U.S. The deferred action is subject to renewal and may lead to a work permit. With a work permit, an immigrant can apply for a social security number and a state ID or driver’s license. Deferred action granted by DACA can be revoked at any time.
Although DACA doesn’t allow you to travel abroad, it might make it easier for you to obtain travel documents. Be sure to check with USCIS for more extensive information. You can also contact the immigration lawyers at YMLG for a thorough explanation of DACA as it relates to your situation.
What DACA Does NOT Do
It’s important to understand what Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals does NOT do, along with what it DOES do. Many people confuse DACA with other immigration issues. They also assume that DACA does many things that, in reality, it doesn’t. Below, we list some of the things that DACA cannot do for you.
- Give you a green card or give you a path to getting a green card.
- Lead to or give you U.S. Citizenship.
- Allow you to travel abroad.
- Lead to the naturalization process.
What Are the Benefits of DACA?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration program that offers several benefits for those approved for DACA applications. Most people already know that DACA will defer removal action for recipients, which basically means they’re protected from removal proceedings or deportation. It has allowed many undocumented immigrants to achieve relative stability during their time in the United States. Below, we provide a brief list of specific benefits that DACA eligibility could bring you.
- Ability to obtain a social security card
- Getting a driver’s license in most states
- Putting utility bills in your name
- Applying for a credit card and building your credit
- Getting a job that offers benefits
If you’re interested in submitting a DACA application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, we recommend speaking with a qualified DACA lawyer.
Aside from DACA, another way that undocumented immigrants can possible obtain a green card is through 245i protection.
DACA Renewal 2022
A DACA recipient may begin the renewal process as long as they are eligible for renewal. Those who were eligible for the original DACA eligibility guidelines from 2012 may apply for the renewal process. However, they must also meet the following criteria.
- You have been physically present in the United States since August 15, 2012. This means you did not leave the country without advance parole on or after that date.
- You have resided in the United States continuously since your most recent approved DACA application.
- You have not been convicted of a significant misdemeanor or a felony. Additionally, you cannot have been convicted of three or more misdemeanors, nor can you pose a threat to public safety or national security.
How to Renew DACA 2022
With help from an attorney who has extensive experience in immigration law, you’ll need to fill out and sign a Form I-821D. This form is called Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). You must also fill out Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and a Form I-765W worksheet.
We often recommend that you have a DACA lawyer help you with these forms. Oftentimes, forms from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services can be confusing. Our law firm has extensive experience in many different types of immigration cases. We can help you throughout the entire process, which includes filling out your forms and returning them in a timely manner.
Is DACA Accepting New Applications 2022?
According to the National Immigrant Law Center, the Department of Homeland Security has continued the existing policy for DACA. It includes the current application criteria, as well as the current process for requesting work authorization. However, this rule only takes effect starting October 31, 2022.
Although the USCIS will still accept your DACA application, they are barred from granting DACA by an injunction. An injunction is a judicial order that prevents a person or entity from carrying out a certain action. In this case, the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas has filed an injunction that prevents USCIS from granting DACA.
The DREAM Act
The purpose of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, was to remove ICE’s (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) attention away from “Dreamers.” The name “Dreamers” comes from the failed DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) that was originally considered by Congress in 2007.
The goal of the failed bill was to provide a path to U.S. citizenship for young, illegal immigrants whose parents originally brought them into the country. In 2013, the DREAM Act still managed to reform the immigration system and allow Dreamers to stay in the U.S. to attend school and work. Many believe the failed legislation motivated President Obama to sign DACA.
Arizona’s Response to DACA
Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona became the first state governor to resist President Obama’s DACA policy, barring anyone with deferred status from accessing any state benefits. This sparked debate because it meant that eligible and authorized candidates couldn’t get a driver’s license. A federal district judge ruled in May 2013 that Brewer’s order was likely illegal. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a preliminary injunction against Brewer’s ban in 2014. Later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in November 2014 that the ban was unconstitutional.
How to Apply for DACA 2022
In order to apply for DACA for the first time, you must meet the DACA eligibility requirements, which we list in the next section. If this is your first time applying, we highly recommend speaking with qualified immigration lawyers throughout this immigration process. Many people discover in the course of their immigration journey that many USCIS processes and forms are very complicated. That’s why it’s best to have a professional team to guide you along the way.
You’ll need a pretty significant number of documents to accompany your application, so be sure to use a checklist when gathering documents. Additionally, do NOT send in the original documents. Always make copies of the original documents to send to the immigration office. We provide an exhaustive list of the documents you’ll need in a later section.
You can request DACA if you meet the following requirements:
- Must have been younger than age 31 on June 15, 2012
- Arrived in the U.S. prior to their 16th birthday
- Continuously lived in the U.S. from June 15, 2007 to present time
- Were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time of filing for a DACA request
- Is currently in school, graduated from high school, or obtained a GED
- Is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces
- Hasn’t been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanor offenses
- Doesn’t pose a threat to national security or public safety
- Must be at least 15 years old unless he or she is under threat of removal or has a final removal or voluntary departure order
Required Documents For DACA Applicants
If you meet the eligibility guidelines, DACA applicants will need the following documents:
- Proof of identity.
- School or military photo I.D.
- Birth certificate with photo
- Government-issued immigration documents with your name and picture.
- Proof you entered the U.S. before your 16th birthday.
- Form I-94/I-95/I-94W or other immigration documents, a passport stamp, school, health, or tax records, or employment records and bank transaction receipts.
- Proof of legal status.
- Form I-94/I-95/I-94W with an authorized stay expiration date
- Order for removal proceedings
- Final order for exclusion or deportation
- Proof you were in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and proof that you have resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007.
- Utility bills
- Rent receipts
- Military, school, and employment records
- Passport entries
- Dated bank transactions.
- Proof of student or military status.
- School I.D. or transcripts
- Proof of honorable discharge from the military
Sometimes USCIS will allow you to provide copies, but some people are required to submit originals. Knowing what to do and how to assemble these immigration documents seems like a daunting task. Trust the experienced Phoenix immigration attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group to help you locate and identify the correct documents to ensure your DACA request is submitted correctly.
DACA Filing Fees
As with nearly any immigration service, there is a filing fee to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). According to the USCIS, the filing fee is $495. The fee includes the cost of biometrics and employment authorization. If you cannot afford the filing fee, speak with a DACA attorney to explore your options.
USCIS DACA Renewal Fee
The filing fee for a DACA renewal application is the same as the initial application for DACA. You’ll also need the same forms and the same documents, and USCIS has the same amount of time to respond to your application. Again, we recommend working with DACA immigration lawyers for your case.
Below, we include relevant updates regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Our immigration lawyers update this page regularly, so be sure to check back frequently to ensure that you remain informed about any important changes.
DACA News Today 2022
As we mentioned above, the Department of Homeland Security issued a final rule that will preserve and fortify DACA. The rule was issued on September 7, 2022, but does not take effect until October 31, 2022. This rule does the following.
- Keeps the current criteria for DACA.
- Keeps the current process for DACA applicants to seek work authorization.
- Reinforces the policy that DACA is not a form of lawful status.
It may be possible to be granted DACA by the USCIS before October 31, as there is a partial stay against the injunction from the Texas District Court.
DACA News July 2021
Some DACA news happened on July 16, 2021 in Texas. Basically, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals memorandum illegal. However, if you’re a current DACA recipient, you’re safe for now. Current DACA recipients can continue to request renewal from the USCIS, which is a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This court order officially prevents the USCIS from granting new DACA requests after July 16, 2021. In the meantime, the DHS and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are attempting to appeal the U.S. District Court order out of Texas.
How Many Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Recipients are Living in the U.S.?
USCIS data from August 2018 estimates that there are 699,350 DACA recipients who are lawfully present in the United States. According to data from the USCIS, there were 590,070 active DACA recipients as of June 30th, 2021.
Are You Eligible for DACA?
If you’re eligible for DACA, we encourage you to speak with our qualified immigration lawyers in Phoenix. Immigration relief can come in many different forms, one of which is DACA. Our law firm has extensive experience working with undocumented people to change their immigration status, apply for DACA, and many other immigration cases. Ybarra Maldonado Law Group is a compassionate law firm that truly cares about the communities we serve. If you need immigration lawyers you can trust, you need YMLG.
Experienced DACA Lawyers in Phoenix, AZ
If you don’t know where to begin and fear that you might be filing your paperwork incorrectly, we recommend that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney. Additionally, we can help with immigration appeals whenever necessary. Once you establish an attorney-client relationship with us at YMLG, our immigration lawyers will ensure that you are well informed of your legal options.
Nobody is required to have legal representation to file for DACA status. But if you need assistance with your application or you have a complicated case, our team of experienced immigration attorneys is here to help. If you have questions about the DACA program or about your specific DACA case, contact us today to find the information and support you need. Additionally, if you’re seeking any other immigration benefits, attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group can help with that too. Call today at 602-910-4040 to make your immigration goals come true and to have the best immigration lawyer in Phoenix on your side.