In June 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program began as a temporary solution to shield young immigrants from deportation and allow them permission to live and work in the United States, with the option of renewing every two years. These young immigrants arrived in the United States when they were children, under the age of 16, and do not have legal status. While controversial at the time, it disappeared from headlines until September 2017 when the current administration announced the termination of the DACA program.
Those eligible to apply for DACA must have been under the age of 16 when brought to the United States, have arrived prior to 2012, be in school or have graduated high school, and have not committed a felony or three or more significant misdemeanors. In 2017/2018, Catholic Charities’ Immigration Legal Services served approximately 30 DACA applicants.
Yer Vang, Director of Immigration Legal Services, shared examples of the families they continue to serve.
“One DACA applicant that I worked with when I started at Catholic Charities was a young, single mother,” said Vang. “She was brought here from Mexico as a young child and now has two children of her own, one with special needs, and both are US Citizens. After being approved for DACA, she was able to work without fear and provide stability for her family.”
Many DACA recipients, despite their young age, become the caretakers and are financially responsible for their families.
“At a recent Know Your Rights event, I had a couple ask if their 18-year-old daughter, who was a recipient of DACA, could be the legal guardian for her younger siblings in the event something happened to the parents,” said Vang. “The fear of deportation is very real for many immigrant families and safety planning is extremely important.”
Currently, the ongoing litigation has allowed DACA recipients to renew, if eligible. However, it does not permit initial first time DACA applications. Every two years, DACA recipients must renew their work authorization.
Catholic Charities’ immigration attorneys provide free consultations to immigrant families to help them understand their legal options. Catholic Charities’ immigration attorneys also provide assistance to clients with immigration legal issues by providing low-cost, fee-for-services legal representation with family-based immigration and citizenship services, including representation in immigration court. They also focus on educating community groups on the latest immigration issues such as immigrant’s rights and the importance of having a qualified immigration legal professional advise immigrants of their legal options. For more information please click here
or contact 319-364-7121.