Deferred Action, SIJS, And Immigrant Youth
Our sons and daughters are the most valuable people in our lives. The young men and women who make up our country’s youth will be best prepared to lead our country into the future only if they enjoy the rights, freedoms, and opportunities that will enable them to reach their full potential. That’s why the Austin immigration law firm of Walker Gates Vela is particularly vigilant and passionate about protecting and uplifting children. Our immigration lawyers are dedicated to helping immigrant youth and their families remain safe and protected in the U.S.A.
Walker Gates Vela PLLC is proud to support immigrant youth in applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA. DACA represents an opportunity for millions qualified young people to obtain temporary lawful status, work authorization, and other auxiliary benefits.
What is Deferred Action or DACA?
Individuals who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply for DACA:
- At least 15 years of age
- Entered the United States prior to 16th birthday
- Entered the United States prior to June 15, 2007* and have resided in the USA continuously since that time
- Were under the age of 31 years on June 15, 2012*
- Were physically present in the USA on June 15, 2012*
- Had no lawful immigration status on or after June 15, 2012*
- Are enrolled in or have completed an accredited high school diploma, equivalency (GED) or vocational program or have an honorable discharge from military service
- Have no felony record and no significant misdemeanors; have no more than two misdemeanor convictions (not including traffic offenses); are not a threat to national security or public safety
*These requirements will be eliminated or changed with the implementation of new guidelines announced by President Barack Obama on November 20, 2014. Under the new guidelines, an applicant must show entry to and physical presence in the USA on or after January 1, 2010 and need not be younger than 31 to apply. Individuals of any age may apply so long as they satisfy the other qualifications for the program.
Applications for Consideration of DACA are made on Form I-821D. Individuals who have been in deportation proceedings before the immigration court, have criminal records, including DWIs, or exits from the United States during after June 15, 2007 are well served to obtain a thorough case analysis prior to submitting an application for DACA.
What are the benefits of DACA?
Benefits available to DACA recipients vary by state. In Texas, once you achieve DACA status, you can get a social security card, apply for a job with benefits, and get a driver’s license. You can find scholarships and financial aid for college. You may be able get travel authorization to exit and return lawfully to the United States in certain circumstances.
What is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)?
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is a manner by which eligible immigrant youth may apply for and be granted lawful permanent resident status in the United States. In order to be eligible, the applicant must be unmarried and under 21 years of age, and must have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by at least one parent.
In order to apply for SIJS with the immigration service, the child must:
- The child be the subject of a family court proceeding to determine proper guardianship and/or custody of the child; and
- The child must have been found by the state court that he/she has been abused, neglected or abandoned; and
- The state court must conclude that returning to his or her home country would be contrary to the child’s best interests.
Determining a child’s eligibility for SIJS requires a thorough analysis of the law and facts of the case, and, as with most immigration legal matters, consultation with an experienced Austin immigration attorney is advised prior to filing for this benefit.
The Austin lawyers at Walker Gates Vela handle all manner of deferred action cases
To help your son or daughter achieve lawful immigration status, contact our Austin immigration attorneys right away at (512) 633-1785 for our Austin office and (361) 356-4502 for our Corpus Christi location.