IMMIGRATION 2021: DACA FORTIFIED, ENFORCEMENT PRIORITIES REVERSED.

Blogging about immigration law these days has been a daunting task even for a lawyer! On day one of the Biden/Harris Administration, we saw a few executive orders impacting various immigration programs and policies. Here is a recap of two:

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA):

Despite the many challenges against it, the DACA program is now available as originally implemented on June 15, 2012, which means eligible applicants may now apply for the very first time. Generally, you may file an application if you: (1) were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012; (2) came to the U.S. before you were 16 years of age; (3) have “continuously” resided in the United States since June 15, 2007; (4) were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012; (5) had no lawful status on June 15, 2012; (6) are “currently in school” or “have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school,” or “have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate,” or “are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States”; and (7) have not been convicted of a felony, “significant misdemeanor,” or “three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.” If you believe you are eligible, you should immediately contact an experienced immigration attorney to learn more about the process.

On day one of his term, President Biden signed an executive order calling on the Secretary of Homeland Security as well as the Attorney General to work together “to preserve and strengthen the DACA initiative,” which tells me we will be hearing more about DACA in the next few months.

Enforcement Priorities:

President Biden reversed a former administration’s executive order that eliminated immigration enforcement priorities, which resulted in the deportation of families and long-time residents. Under this order, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will conduct a review of its immigration enforcement policies. Importantly, DHS has been ordered to implement a 100-day moratorium on almost all deportations, effective today, January 22, 2021.

Immigration is a complex area of law. You should always seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney before taking any action with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Author’s Bio: https://rhlaw.com/attorneys/marie-e-wood/

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