People in California who would have been too young to file for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program before it stopped taking new applications in 2017 may now be able to do so if they are the right age and qualify in other ways. On July 17, a federal judge in Maryland restored the program to its status prior to Sept. 5, 2017.
There were already 640,000 people enrolled in the program, which is an indirect route to citizenship, when the Trump Administration attempted to phase it out. While the legal battle was ongoing, participants were permitted to renew, but the program did not take new applicants. In June of this year, the Supreme Court upheld the amnesty on deportation.
DACA allows individuals who are under a certain age and who came to the United States prior to 2008 as juveniles to get a work permit and a two-year stay of deportation. There are additional requirements, such as finishing high school or working on an equivalency program. They must also not have been convicted of certain crimes. The process by which they can start on the road to citizenship, advance parole, allows them to exit and reenter the country with permission. This removes their undocumented status and sets them on a clear path to getting a green card.
Individuals who may be eligible for DACA or who have other concerns about immigration may want to contact an attorney to discuss their options. Immigration law is complex and changes rapidly, and there may be more than one path to a green card and citizenship for some individuals, particularly if more than one family member is already a citizen. An attorney might explain the relevant parts of the law and assist an individual in preparing documentation for residency or citizenship.