The Latest on DACA (Deferred Action)

Hanes & Bartels Dec. 6, 2013

We at Hanes & Bartels LLC have thoroughly enjoyed helping dozens of young people to take advantage of the program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that began on June 15 of 2012. Through these cases, we have helped high school valedictorians, budding scientists, and star high school and college athletes to get some relief from the uncertainty of living without legal immigration status. Many of these young people were brought to the US by their parents when they were infants or young children, and grew up speaking only English and knowing no other country but the United States.

At first we were getting these cases approved in 2.5 – 3 months on average after we submitted. But since about March of this year, we’ve seen even good DACA cases taking many more months for approval. Our observations match the national trend – the average DACA processing time has increased to about 6 months. We suspect that USCIS, the immigration agency, has diverted resources to other programs such as the new provisional waivers (I-601A). There may therefore simply be fewer USCIS adjudicators to review DACA applications, so approvals are taking longer.

We have also seen USCIS get more picky about the evidence required, for example, of continuous physical presence in the US. The national trend is to see more RFE (Requests for Evidence) letters from USCIS asking for additional, detailed documentation.

However, DACA remains an excellent option for many young people. If you meet the following requirements, come speak to us to see if you can qualify. The benefits include removing the constant risk of deportation, getting authorization to work in the US, getting a social security number, and getting a Colorado Driver’s License.

The basic DACA requirements:

  • entered the US before turning 16

  • between the ages of 15 and 31 now

  • graduated high school, in high school, or in a G.E.D. program

  • been in the US since June 15, 2007

  • relatively clean criminal record (minor traffic tickets are okay)