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DACA Immigration Lawyer in Baton Rouge, LA
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, is a federal program that helps hundreds of thousands of young people all over the country who arrived in the U.S. as children. The program grants people work authorization and protects them from removal proceedings on a temporary basis. Even if you’ve never applied before, you could be eligible for protection under DACA.
DACA Immigration: The Basics
DACA is currently open to new enrollment after a brief pause and several court cases threatened the program. Not everyone is eligible, you could be if you:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
- Are currently over the age of 15 (except in cases of removal proceedings)
- Came to the United States before you turned 16
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007 and up to now
- Were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, as well as at the time you request deferred action from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Had no lawful status in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
- Are currently attending school or you have graduated (or obtained a certificate of completion from high school), or have obtained a high school equivalency certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force or Coast Guard
- Have never been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or three or more other misdemeanors
- Do not pose a threat to national security or public safety
It’s important to note that eligibility criteria can change, and that the DACA program has been through several court cases (including one before the U.S. Supreme Court – the highest judicial authority in the country).
What Are Significant Misdemeanors for DACA Immigration Purposes?
A “significant misdemeanor” is one that involves:
- Domestic violence
- Sexual abuse
- Sexual exploitation
- Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Unlawful possession of a firearm
- Unlawful use of a firearm
- Drug distribution or trafficking
- Other misdemeanors for which you are sentenced to more than 90 days behind bars
How Do You Apply for DACA Protections if You’re in the U.S. Unlawfully?
You can apply for DACA protections if you are currently in the U.S. without lawful status. You can even petition for DACA protections if you’re already involved in removal proceedings. For many people, the best course of action is working with a Baton Rouge immigration attorney who understands – and keeps track of – the most current evolutions of U.S. immigration laws.
Can You Renew Your DACA Status?
If you have previously been approved for the DACA program, you can apply to renew your status. The USCIS recommends that you do so between 150 and 120 days before your current status expires, although you can apply closer to your status’s expiration date if necessary. However, if you apply and aren’t approved before your current DACA status expires, you could be unlawfully present in the United States.
Does USCIS Have to Approve Your DACA Immigration Petition?
There are several reasons USCIS could deny your DACA petition – including conviction of crimes or believing that you pose a threat to national security. USCIS can deny your petition for discretionary reasons, as well. The agency is not obligated to approve your petition. However, if it denies your petition, your Baton Rouge immigration attorney may be able to help you work toward a more favorable outcome.
Do You Need to Talk to a DACA Immigration Attorney?
If you’re a DREAMer who needs to talk to a DACA immigration attorney in Baton Rouge or the surrounding communities, we may be able to help you. Call our office to schedule an immigration consultation today.
CONTACT A IMMIGRATION LAWYER TODAY
We are committed to handling each case with the care and attention that it deserves. Our legal team and staff are dedicated to protecting your legal rights and we will fight to defend them.
If you or someone you love is struggling through the difficult immigration or deportation process, our immigration attorneys at Rusty Messer & Associates want to help. Contact our firm today at (225) 963-9638 to speak with a representative and schedule a free consultation.