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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals may aid Arizona immigrants

For people who were brought to the United States as a child, there is often a fear that they might be deported if they don't currently have a legal immigration status. In June of 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was announced. This program gives a two-year period of deferred action to qualified individuals, including some who live in Arizona. There are specific guidelines for this program, but for people who qualify, it can provide a valuable period of work eligibility and time without having to worry about being deported.

The DACA program is only for people who were under 31 years old on June 15, 2012 and who came to the United States prior to their 16th birthday. They must not have been convicted of a felony, three or more misdemeanors or one significant misdemeanor. They must be in school, have graduated or have received a GED. Those who were honorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces or Coast Guard are also eligible. Additionally, applicants must have lived in the U.S. continuously since June 15, 2007. They must have been in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time the DACA application is sent in.

A background check and other checks are done to ensure that applicants aren't approved for the DACA program if they pose a security threat to the country. It is possible for a person to apply for the DACA program even if he or she left the country periodically, but only if that trip was a casual brief trip that didn't involve activities against the law.

People who are in removal procedures, have a voluntary departure order or have a final removal order can apply for this deferred action program. People who are approved can request a renewal that will give them another two years of deferred action. Additionally, a work authorization might be possible during the renewal period if you can show economic necessity for employment.

There are special considerations in some instances that might affect a person applying for DACA. Working closely with someone familiar with the program can help you to ensure you do everything you need to do for your application.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "How do I request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA)?" Nov. 23, 2014

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