Discover How DACA Can Help You With 2 Inspiring Immigration Stories
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an American immigration policy started in June 2012, which allows undocumented immigrants who came to the US as minors protection from deportation and allows them to earn a work permit. Below are two inspiring stories that can help you have faith in the American immigration system.
1.) Filing for a Travel Document if You Have a Work Visa to See Family
I think everyone knows that over the last few years, there’s been this wonderful program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, since 2012 – great program. Has really helped a lot of people, young people. Since the work permits were issued for two, three years, we’ve been seeing a lot of people that are coming in for renewals of their work permits. Some people are even coming in and inquiring about travel permits.
Last week, I had a meeting with a young man that was telling me about his grandfather that he had never met, actually, who is dying of a terminal disease. He was hoping to visit his grandfather before he passes away. He had heard through the grapevine that if you are a DACA recipient and you’ve got your work permit through DACA, that it may be possible to travel, so he came in to find out the details.
Sometimes I don’t have good news for people. This time, I made him very happy. It’s totally possible for someone who is a DACA recipient, who has a valid work permit and a valid DACA eligibility, under the right circumstances, to apply for a travel permit. I suggested that we apply for a travel permit for him using Form I-131. Immigration generally grants advance parole, which is the permission to travel and return to the country, for several major reasons.
One of them is if people have an educational reason to travel, like if they want to study abroad, take a short-term program abroad. Another might be if someone has an important business reason to travel abroad on a short term. The third reason, which is this category, is considered a humanitarian reason. If people are going to visit a dying relative or to attend funeral services, that is definitely considered a humanitarian reason.
Sometimes people come to my office and say they want to take a vacation to Europe, or to Bali, or another wonderful place, but for immigration purposes, going on vacation is not considered a valid motive for applying for a travel permit for advance parole. In this case, to visit his sick and dying grandfather, that was a totally valid reason to apply for advance parole. We advised him to obtain proof of their relationship – that would mean to prove that his grandfather is his grandfather – his birth certificate, his mother or father’s birth certificate, and the accompanying marriage certificates with all the translations.
Likewise, we advised him to obtain proof of the serious medical condition. He got copies of hospital records; he got a detailed letter from the doctor treating his grandfather, and he got an email from another family member explaining that it was very serious and that he should come right away. We did put together the advance parole application for him, and we were successful in obtaining advance parole.
Sometimes you can even get expedited advance parole if you produce evidence of a death certificate and funeral arrangements if someone has to travel immediately. It is a great benefit for people that have been granted DACA. Under the right circumstances, like this young man, he was able to apply for advance parole and be granted advance parole.
One additional benefit of advance parole is that when somebody re-enters the US, it is actually considered a lawful entry. Many of the DACA recipients came in across the border, or they don’t have copies of their old visa, so they never had a lawful entry. In this case, if you do leave on advance parole and come back, it’s considered a lawful entry. If you are in your twenties or thirties and married to a US citizen, and did not have another means of interviewing in the US, you can use this entry as a qualifying entry to adjust your status in the US if you have a US citizen spouse. That’s kind of a side benefit to applying for advance parole as a DACA if you’re able to qualify for that.
It’s a great form. It’s a great option. It’s a little bit complicated. You have to dot all your Is and cross your Ts. I do recommend that you work with a competent immigration lawyer that’s handled the advance parole travel requests.
- Immigration will allow a valid DACA recipient with a valid work permit to apply for a travel permit with the I-131 Form.
- Immigration will allow this under the following circumstances with proof:
- Educational reasons, like studying abroad for a short term program.
- Short term business travel
- Humanitarian reason, like visiting a sick family member or funeral.
- You will not be granted the travel permit for any other reasons.
2.) Qualifying for a DACA if You Entered as a Minor and Never Finished High School
Just the other day, a young man came to my office and he had a really great question. I’ve heard this question so many times. Fortunately, I have a happy answer. There’s this wonderful program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. We also call it DACA. It’s been around for a couple of years now. It benefits individuals who came into the US when they were young, under 16, and there are several other requirements, which I’ll tell you about in a moment.
One of the requirements is that someone has to produce a high school diploma, and they have a few other options. Many times, individuals who come into my office, they meet so many of the other requirements but they didn’t finish high school or they came in when they were 16 or right before 16, and they went straight to work. They don’t have any high school records at all.
This gentleman was afraid to apply back when the initial applications were submitted. He was in my office and said, “I have no high school records. Is there any way that I could qualify?”I’m happy to say that the answer is yes. Just because someone does not have a high school diploma does not mean they cannot apply for DACA. In terms of the educational requirement, people can either be in school and prove that they’re in school. That could also be a GED program.
They can also produce a high school diploma or they can produce a GED certificate. Any of those documents are acceptable. In terms of some of the other requirements, people have to prove that they came into the US before they were 16. They have to be able to document it. They have to prove that they came into the US before June of 2007. They also have to be able to document that. They have to prove that they were physically present in the US on June 15, 2012, which is when DACA took effect. They have to prove the educational requirement.
They must have a pretty clean police record, maybe a minor misdemeanor is okay, but anything that’s more serious will totally eliminate their being qualified. If you have had any type of a deportation problem however, it doesn’t matter. DACA clears up the deportation. Deferred action means that you will not be deported, that your deportation is being deferred. This is a wonderful program where people –if they’re approved, it takes about a year to apply and get approved, they will acquire a work permit.
The work permit is valid for two to four years. Right now, there is no talk of DACA applicants acquiring green cards. However, in certain circumstances, it is possible for approved DACA applicants to travel outside the country. If they return with advance parole and have a lawful entry, some of them are married to US citizens and they can adjust their status in the US. It really opens all the doors for the people who entered the US before they were 16.
One of the other requirements is that someone has to have been under 31 in June 2012. You have to do a little bit of calculation regarding the age, age when they entered, age when they applied, and meets certain requirements. There’s a lot of paper shuffling. It’s a very paper intensive application. However, we have made many people very, very happy by successfully processing the DACA applications.
We even had one case where an individual didn’t have actual proof that he was here before he was 16, but he had a photograph of himself standing on the corner near a gas station sign in a snowstorm. We were able to do research and find out the price of gas when the price of gas was as low as it was on that sign. We are able to do meteorological research and determine that there was a snowstorm. He told us that is was January of the certain year. We also got affidavits from people that he lived with.
Many times, if you are very, very creative, but in a legal way, with secondary documentation you can help someone get their case approved where otherwise they may be missing a piece of crucial information. We’ve had a lot of success showing graduation pictures with copies of diplomas of the people in the picture that graduated, proving someone’s physical presence.
If you or a loved one are trying to gain citizenship or access to the United States, it is important to contact an experienced Immigration Attorney, like the ones at Susan Scheer Immigration Law.
- A requirement for DACA is to be able to produce a high school diploma.
- But you can also be eligible if you prove that you are enrolled in school or a GED program.
- You must prove that you entered the U.S. before the age of 16, and before June 2007. You must also have had to be present in the United States on June 15, 2012 which is when DACA started.
- Deferred Action allows you to gain a two to four year work permit.
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