The Citizen and Immigration Services recently announced that they will start accepting applications for the expanded DACA program beginning on February 18. In order to qualify, the applicant must have entered the country before turning 16 years of age and must have lived here continuously since Jan 1, 2010. The work authorization period for the DACA program has also been extended from 2 to 3 years.
The expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was announced by President Obama in November 2014. The President’s executive action on immigration will now provide deportation relief to thousands of illegal immigrants in the country.
DACA applications were first issued in 2012. At the time, applicants were required to have entered the United States before turning 16 and must have lived in the country continuously as of June 15, 2007. They were also required to be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2007 to qualify for the program.
Close to 600,000 illegal immigrants received work permits through the previous DACA program. The newly amended guidelines are expected to help over 270,000 people in the US obtain work authorization and many non-profit groups are helping immigrants properly fill out all the necessary documents. Workshops are being conducted on weekends in major cities like Chicago to help the immigrant population get fully familiarized with the newly amended DACA guidelines.
While there has been a lot of support for President Obama’s bold immigration policies, it has also faced some stark criticism. Twenty six states have now filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration, stating that the program is unconstitutional. House Republicans are also planning to initiate legal proceedings. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the agency that handles immigration issues, is set to run out of funds by Feb 28. While the House of Representatives has approved a new spending budget for DHS, it has exercised certain prohibitions against President Obama’s immigration plans. Many House members are calling to end the DACA program all together.
President Obama has vowed to veto any measures that would threaten to roll back his executive decision on DACA. During his ‘Dreamers’ interview with people who would benefit from the DACA program, he assured them by saying, “I want to be as clear as possible: I will veto any legislation that got to my desk that took away the chance of these young people who grew up here and who are prepared to contribute to this country that would prevent them from doing so.”
If you or someone you know would like legal counsel regarding President Obama’s executive order on immigration or need assistance on another type of immigration issue, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website or calling us today at 512-215-5225.