The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA) program has been updated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in the form of a change in the renewal process for the roughly half-million immigrants involved in the program. Though the changes have not yet been implemented, the update offers valuable insight into what DACA recipients have to look forward to. According to the update which was posted on the USCIS website recently, revisions to the DACA application form will be made in late spring of this year and will restrict renewal requests only to those individuals who were program recipients prior to August 15th of 2012. Additionally, those requesting renewals will only be required to turn over documentation regarding criminal history or removal proceedings that they had not already submitted.
To this point, those individuals requesting DACA from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (or ICE) have been required to submit a great deal of evidence about their background. According to the update, they will no longer be required to do so and those who make an initial filing for DACA will continue to use the application form that is currently accepted. It has been recommended by USCIS that DACA recipients file their renewal requests within 120 days of their DACA grant expiration date. They should not, however, file renewal requests any sooner than 150 days before expiration as the agency will not accept application filed that early. Automatic extensions will be considered if the renewal process incurs any unexpected delays but these will likely be limited to individuals who end up filing their requests between 150 and 120 days prior to their grant expiration.
As it stands right now, the USCIS policy on automatic extensions allows the possibility of DACA recipients seeing a lapse in deferred action. This could cause be a serious detriment to DACA recipients who file their renewal requests prior to their grant expiration dates if USCIS does not implement the automatic extension policy. Immigration advocates and other supporters have made the argument that automatic extensions should be put in place because, among other reasons, a lapse in deferred action could result in the loss of work authorization as well as put them at risk of being in the country illegally. Such ramifications put not only the individuals themselves in jeopardy but also their families, their employers, and others who might be associated with them in an official capacity.
The details of the renewal process will be finalized over the next several weeks with the updated renewal form expected to be available near the end of May of this year. USCIS is expected to be open to suggestions and opinions from immigration supporters about how to make the renewal process easier and more streamlined for recipients but the bottom line at this point is that those recipients are being kept in the loop about what is coming up in the near future and how it will affect them and their families. If you or someone you know is in need of counsel regarding this or any other immigration issue, please visit the Austin immigration attorney at Lyttle Law Firm or call their office directly at 512-215-5225.