The DACA Rules Not Good Enough for the GOP
To be eligible, illegal immigrants must have entered the United States before their 16th birthday and prior to June 2007, be currently in school, a high school graduate or be honorably discharged from the military, be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, and not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three other misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security. The program does not provide lawful status or a path to citizenship, nor does it provide eligibility for federal welfare or student aid.
In August 2012, the Migration Policy Institute estimated that as many as 1.76 million people could be eligible for DACA. Of those, 28% were under 15 and would have to wait until reaching that age to apply. In addition, roughly 20% did not meet any of the education criteria, but could become eligible by enrolling in a program before submitting their application. 74% of the eligible population was born in Mexico or Central America. Smaller proportions came from Caribbean and South America (11%), Asia (9%), and the rest of the world (6%).
To qualify for DACA, applicants must meet the following major requirements, although meeting them does not guarantee approval:
- Came to the United States before their 16th birthday
- Have lived continuously in the United States since 15 June 2007
- Were under age 31 on 15 June 2012 (i.e., born on 16 June 1981 or after)
- Were physically present in the United States on 15 June 2012, and at the time of making their request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS
- Had no lawful status on 15 June 2012
- Have completed high school or a GED, have been honorably discharged from the armed forces, or are enrolled in school
- Have not been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanors, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety
To show proof of qualification (verify these requirements), applicants must submit three forms; I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and I-765WS, Worksheet, as well as supporting documentation.
In addition to the $495 application fee, if a DACA qualifying illegal immigrant wants to travel abroad there is an additional fee and application requirement.
Form I-131 Application Type D, with a fee of $575 needs to be submitted to USCIS.
To receive advance parole one must travel abroad for the sole purpose of an educational, employment, or humanitarian purposes. This must be indicating on the Form I-131 as described below:
- Educational purposes, such as studying abroad;
- Employment purposes, such as overseas positions, interviews, training, or meetings with clients; or
- Humanitarian purposes, such as travel for medical reasons, attend funeral services for a family member, or visit a sick relative.
Travel for leisure is not a valid purpose.
USCIS released the process for DACA renewals in June 2014 and directed applicants to file their documents during a 30-day window starting 150 days before the expiration of their previous DACA status. Renewing requires an additional $495 fee.
As of June 2016, there had been 606,264 renewal cases, with 526,288 approved, 4,703 denied and 75,205 renewals pending.