How to determine if your immigrant child is in the U.S.A.

On June 19, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) — the government agency tasked with processing, housing, and caring for unaccompanied immigrant children — opened a telephone hotline for individuals wanting to know whether their child is in ORR care.

The number is 1-800-203-7001 and will be operational 7 days a week from 9:00AM to 9:00PM Eastern Standard Time. Individuals searching for a child should have the child’s name, date of birth, and any important or identifying information about the child (for example, scars, birthmarks, or medications required). The telephone operator, who is a Spanish speaker, will take down the information about the child and the caller’s contact information. He or she will then conduct a search of ORR systems to determine if the child is in ORR care. If the child is, in fact, in ORR custody, the child’s case worker will be provided with the caller’s contact information, and the caller will be contacted by the case worker as soon as is practicable.

The packet of documents required to reunite a child with his or her parent or sponsor is called the Family Reunification Packet. The packet includes an Application for Family Reunification, and is available in Spanish and English. All required documents are on ORR’s website (link below) under “Key Documents for the Unaccompanied Children’s Services Program.”

If you are the parent or caregiver of an immigrant minor, and would like assistance exploring immigration-related legal issues related to your child, please contact us at (512) 633-1785 or via our website contact form to schedule a consultation.

Is it time to renew your Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?

Hi, I’m Chito Vela with Walker Gates Vela, PLLC. Today we are glad to announce that the Department of Homeland Security has published guidelines for renewal of Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals or DACA. On June 5, 2014, US Citizenship and Immigration Services published a revised form I-821D which is now the only form accepted for DACA applications, whether renewals or first-time applicants.

The renewal process will require applicants to show that [1] they have not departed the United States on or after August 15, 2012 unless they had advance parole, [2] they have resided continuously in the United States since they submitted their last application for DACA, and [3] they have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or three or more misdemeanors of any kind. The renewal process does not require submission of evidence to establish eligibility.

Initial applications, however, do continue to require submission of evidence that the applicant entered before age 16, is currently under 33 years of age, graduated from school or is attending school in the United States, does not have disqualifying criminal convictions.

For assistance with applying for DACA or renewing your deferred action, call us at (512) 633-1785.

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