Sharma Crawford

DACA Age Restrictions Lifted By New Obama Executive Action

The stories below are based off real client experiences. However, all names and specific details have been altered as a matter of privacy and confidentiality.

President Obama finally announced his executive action on the enforcement of immigration laws. The actions are an important change of immigration priorities and are well within the President’s executive authority. One component of the president’s action involves the extension of DACA to anyone who is undocumented and entered the U.S. before the age of 16 and has resided in the U.S. since January 1, 2010. Prior to the announcement, only individuals who resided in the U.S. since 2007 and were under the age of 31 qualified for the DACA program. While the number of individuals affected is much smaller than the initial announcement, it does provide much needed relief to Dreamers who were overlooked in the initial DACA announcement. One of those overlooked individuals is Marissa.

Marissa lived on the U.S.-Mexico border most of her childhood. She entered the U.S. when she was 8 and went to school and lived with her mother and father in Texas. As she got older, she often traveled back to Mexico for work and to see her other family. However, by 2005, the border became violent, particularly in her family’s hometown in Mexico. In 2005, while walking to her aunt’s house, Marissa was mugged and assaulted. Two men hit her on the head with a pistol and stole her purse and phone. She was knocked unconscious, and the wound on her head required seven stitches. She has not returned to Mexico since 2005.

When DACA was announced in 2012, Marissa hoped she would qualify. However, she was 31 at the time pf the announcement. If she were five months younger she would qualify. With the extension of the DACA program, Marissa finally gets the security she seeks. She gets protection from deportation for 3 years, a valid driver’s license and social security number and permission to legally work in the U.S. It also provides her the potential opportunity to travel outside the U.S. with the permission of the U.S. government. This does not provide permanent status and does not create a “pathway to citizenship.” However, it does provide her the opportunity to stay in the country she calls her home.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) expects to begin receiving applications under the new guidelines on February 18, 2015. Click here for more information on the new eligibility guidelines for the DACA program.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice. If you are in removal proceedings or need legal advice on your immigration case, please contact an immigration attorney.

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