New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

What is DACA and Its Complications?

Author: Immigration Attorney Alena Shautsova

DACA is an acronym frequently popping up in the news and it refers to the federal program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program allows individuals who came to the United States as children and who meet certain qualifications to request deferred action against removal for two years. DACA is also a renewable request. Based on prosecutorial discretion those who qualify under DADA can become eligible for work authorization. A few DACA qualifications include being under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, arriving in the United States prior to a 16th birthday, continuous residence and no involvement in criminal activity. Some estimates show that 1.76 million undocumented immigrants should be eligible based on the requirements.

Everyone agrees that immigration needs reform and as areas of immigration law evolve, such as DACA, other problems arise. The most recent concern with DACA is whether to issue driver’s licenses to people who qualify for DACA. Two states already have radically different responses to this issue. The Illinois legislature passed a law to allow DACA approved immigrants to use Temporary Visitor Driver's Licenses, which the state already allows for foreigners here legally. These licenses are renewable every three years and cannot be used for other purposes, such as boarding planes, voting or buying guns. License eligibility requires living at least one year in Illinois. The IOWA Department of Transportation (DOT) announced it would not issue temporary licenses to immigrants who qualified under DACA. DOT determined that DACA does not grant lawful status and therefore does not meet license requirements. However, various members of the IOWA legislature have taken issue with the Iowa DOT's decision.

Immigration is a complicated issue and if you are an immigrant resident in the State of New York, find out how a New York immigration lawyer can help.

08 February 2013