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Can DACA help you secure residency for the next two years?

Many Georgia immigrants have been able to take advantage of a program started by the previous presidential administration in June 2012 aimed at helping certain immigrants avoid deportation. While this program's future is in doubt under President Trump, its status has not changed. If you entered the United States as an infant or minor and wind up in a situation where officials question your legal status, you may be able to halt the deportation process and receive special permission to continue to live and work here.

If you qualify for legal status protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act, it does not mean you may permanently reside in the United States. However, it does mean that you can stay here for an extended period and you may earn an income while doing so.

Who qualifies for DACA?

As with most other government processes pertaining to immigration, there are various requirements that must be satisfied in order to be eligible to apply. If you can fulfill the following stipulations, you may be able to avoid any current deportation threat you face:

  • You had not yet reached your sixteenth birthday when you arrived in the United States.
  • You were not yet age 31 as of June 15, 2012.
  • You've been living here under an undocumented status since June 15, 2007.
  • You pose no threat to public safety.
  • Your criminal record is free of convictions for serious misdemeanors and felonies.
  • Your criminal record does not reflect convictions for three or more misdemeanors.
  • You possess a high school diploma or its equivalent, are an honorably discharged military veteran or are a currently enrolled student.

Since your status protection would only last two years if granted, you'd have to apply for protection renewal when it expires. You may have heard stories of scams related to the DACA program. For instance, some people try to fool immigrants into purchasing false high school diplomas or other technical certifications. If you arm yourself with the facts ahead of time and connect to a strong support system, you may avoid the fraudulent actions of others.

It can be quite confusing and frightening to attempt to request any type of status protection in an undocumented situation. Many Georgia immigrants turn to attorneys who have experience with such matters for help. If language poses a significant barrier, you can seek out someone who is fluent in your own language.

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