Felicia Persaud (26512)
Felicia Persaud

U.S. Citizenship AND Immigration Services is moving ahead with plans to process applications for those eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as ordered under executive action by President Barack Obama.

Despite the hullabaloo in Congress over the president’s actions, USCIS said late last week it will begin accepting requests for DACA Feb. 18. This means that young immigrants between ages 15 and 31 who are undocumented and entered the U.S. before the age of 16 and have lived in the country continuously since June 15, 2012, can apply for DACA.

They must also be currently in school or have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or armed forces of the United States. Most importantly, no approved applicant convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more other misdemeanors or who poses a threat to national security or public safety will be approved for DACA.

DACA approval will give young undocumented immigrants a work authorization for two to three years. Once approved, they will also be able to travel overseas and return without issue.

The work authorization will give them a Social Security card, allowing them to pay taxes if they work and obtain a driver’s license and avoid deportation—at least temporarily in what is being called the process of prosecutorial discretion or deferred removal from deportation.

The form to file with the USCIS is Form I-821D along with Form I-765 or Application for Work Authorization and the I-765 worksheet. Applicants must provide proof of identify in the form of a passport or national identity; a birth certificate with photo identification; or a school or military ID with photo. They must also provide proof they entered the country before age 16, proof of immigration status, proof of presence in U.S. before June 15, 2012, and proof they have continuously lived here since that date.

Additionally, all applicants must provide proof of their student status at time of filing application or, in the case of veterans, proof that they have been honorably discharged from the U.S. military or Coast Guard. The total application filing fee is $465.

For detailed information on filing this application, visit www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca.

Also, USCIS warns all to avoid becoming a victim of immigration scams by ensuring you educate yourself on the rules surrounding applying for DACA and making sure not to give personal information to strangers on the telephone. Also note that “Notarios Publicos” are not allowed to offer any legal services related to immigration. Only an attorney or an organization accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals can offer legal advice.

The writer is CMO of Hard Beat Communications, which owns the brands News Americas Now, CaribPR Wire and Invest Caribbean Now.