DACA

DACA Policy Updates

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival policy has continuously changed since its instatement in 2012. DACA was implemented during the Obama era to later be changed and limited during the Trump administration. While the program was resinstated in its totality in December 2020, on July 16, 2021 new applications were omce again blocked by a federal judge. 

Here is the latest: 

 A federal district court judge in Texas issued an order declaring the DACA program “illegal” and blocking the government from continuing to implement it.

The Department of Homeland Security has not yet issued a statement on how it intends to proceed, but the order states that:

  1. No initial DACA applications will be processed at this time.
  1. Renewal applications will continue to be processed– both renewal applications that are already pending, and renewal applications that have yet to be filed.
  1. Those with a current grant of DACA and employment authorizationremain VALID until the date of expiration (and you can apply to renew as well). No one’s grant of DACA is terminated. You can continue to work and you remain in deferred action.

If you have never applied for DACA before and you have not filed your initial application yet, our advice is that you wait, and do not file. The government must continue to accept new applications, but it is barred from processing them. While there is little risk in sending your application in anyway, there is also no benefit at this time.

If you have an initial DACA application pending now, the government is currently blocked from taking any further action on your application. This does not mean that your application is or will be rejected. It just means that they have ceased reviewing it and will not be issuing any more biometrics appointments or approvals. 

If you have a renewal application pending, USCIS should continue reviewing your application. You do not need to take any action at this time. If you receive anything from USCIS, let us know.

If you have a current or expired grant of DACA that you need to renew, you can file your renewal application. (If your DACA has been expired for over a year, speak with an immigration attorney before taking action.)

This decision just came out and there’s still a lot of details unfolding. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, this is a list of resources we’ve compiled that can help.

President Biden issued a statement the morning of July 17th, 2021 announcing that the Department of Justice intends to appeal the decision, and that DHS plans to issue a proposed rule to protect DACA on its end as well, but both of these will take time. 

The Application Process

The application process varies for each applicant, it all depends on how quick you are able to collect all the documents for the application. In summary, you will need to: 

  1. Ensure you’re eligible 
  2. Prove your identity and age 
  3. Provide education evidence 
  4. Provide proof of residency 
  5. Fill out all four forms if the application; and finally 
  6. Send your application to USCIS

Eligibility

Unfortunately, not everyone is able to receive DACA, there are specific requirements applicants must have to be considered. The following is a detailed list of all the requirements applicants must have.

  1. You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 
  2. You came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday 
  3. You have continuously lived in the United States since June 15, 2007 (without leaving the country) 
  4. You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration 
  5. Had no lawful status (living undocumented) on June 15, 2012 
  6. Are at least 15 years old at the time of submitting the request 
  7. Are currently in school , have graduated or obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States 
  8. Have never:
    • Either as an adult or as a juvenile been arrested for a felony or some misdemeanors.  This does not include most traffic violations except DUIs.
    • Been part of a gang
    • Been accused of being involved in activity that threatens the United States (like terrorism or spying)

Those who have been stopped, detained, or arrested by immigration officials should definitely speak with an attorney prior to submitting their application.

Proof of Identity and Age

For this section you must provide proof that you are who you say you are (by providing some form of ID) and that you were under the age of 31 as of June 15th, 2012.

  • Certified copy of birth certificate (with translation if not in English) 
  • Copy of birth certificate (if no certified copy is available) 
  • Copy of valid passport
  • Copy of expired passport (must submit additional form of ID) 
  • Copy of valid consular ID card or copy of expired consular ID card 
  • Copy of valid school ID or Copy of expired school ID 
  • Copy of photo ID documents issued by DHS 
  • Any other official photo

Education Requirement

You must also fulfill the education component to the application. You must be currently in school (high school or college/university), have graduated or obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States. 

Provide one one of the following:

  • Copy of report cards 
  • Copy of high school diploma or certificate of completion 
  • Copy of proof of enrollment in GED program or other educational program
  • Copy of school transcripts (no sealed transcripts are necessary as long as they are official) 
  • Copy of GED certificate 
  • Copy of military records 
  • Copy of report cards 

Before you send your application you must have a copy of an enrollment letter to a GED program, otherwise your application will not be accepted. 

Here are a couple of online websites you can visit to find a program: 

City Colleges of Chicago

Essential Education

The Learning Center

Proof of Residency

You’ll need documents that prove three things: 

  1. That you arrived in the United states before the age of 16
  2. You have continuously lived in the US since June 15th, 2007
  3. You were present in the United States on June 15th, 2012 
  • Copy of complete school records 
  • Copy of medical records (including vaccination records) 
  • Copy of financial records (including bank statements/checks, rent, utility or credit card bills) 
  • Copy of employment records (including tax returns, pay stubs) 
  • Copy of military records
  • Copy of other records (cell phone records, sports or academic club records, union records, church records: baptism, communion, or confirmation records) 
  • Copy of community service documentation 
  • An affidavit (must submit additional supporting evidence) 
  • Passport with admission stamp 
  • Form I-94/I-95/I-94W 
  • Any immigration and naturalization service or DHS document stating your day of entry (Form I-862, Notice to Appear) 
  • Travel records, passport entries 
  • Copies of money order receipts for money sent in or out of the country 
  • Birth certificates of children born in the US 
  • Automobile license receipts or registration 
  • Deeds, mortgages, rental agreement contracts 
  • Tax receipts, insurance policies 

The Application Itself

The application is composed of four forms that you will need to fill out. 

Form 1: I-821D: Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Form 2: I-765: Application for Employment Authorization

Form 3: I-765WS: Form I-765 Worksheet

Form 4:G-1145: e-Notification of Application/ Petition Acceptance

You can find the interactive pdf formats of the forms here.

You can always fill out the application electronically and print it out if you do not think your handwriting is legible. 

However, you must review the application after you have saved the pdf versions becuase not everything remains filled out. There are times where boxes you have checked are no longer checked or cetain sections are no longer filled out.

Once you have filled out the application:

  1. Click on the print icon at the top right of the document (or keyboard shortcuts: Windows: ctrl + P | MAC: Command + P
  2. Under the “Printer” or“Destination” options, you’ll select “Save as pdf”
  3. Save the file in a safe folder in your device

Please be aware that there are times the pdf does not save all the responses (ex: options you have selected/checked) and its highly encouraged to review the application multiple times before sending it in. 

Additional Documents for your Application

Passport Pictures

You can get passport photos from different locations, look for the nearest locations to you. Here are three options:

  1. Walgreen
  2. CVS
  3. UPS
Money Order

You will need a $495 money order made out to “US Department of Homeland Security.” (Do NOT Abbreviate the Name)

You can get money orders at:

  • US postal Postal Services 
  • Currency Exchange 
  • Western Union 
  • Your Bank 
  • Walmart 
  • Pharmacies (CVS)

**Note: some locations charge a fee for the money order**

** Do This Last & Don Not Leave the “Pay To” Section Blank ** (see image on the right for an example)

Final Steps

Review your application and make sure you have a copy of your full application for any future use or reference.

It strongly suggested that you have a lawyer review your application and/or your specific case before you submit anything.

Send your application to the following address: 

USCIS Chicago Lockbox Facility 

USCIS 

P.O. Box 5757 

Chicago, IL 60680-5757