Since 2012, over 825,998 Dreamers have applied to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This program is not a pathway to citizenship, but protects some people from deportation and provides work permits for those who were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 and living in the U.S. However, there are many requirements that the applicant must fulfill to qualify, including proof of identity, student or military status, and continuous residency in the U.S.
DACA is not only important to the individuals who were brought to the U.S. as minors, but it is also considered good for the country. According to fwd.us, Dreamers buy homes, create businesses, pay billions of dollars in taxes, and have over $24 billion in annual spending power.
There are still around 1.3 million Dreamers in the U.S. who are eligible to apply for DACA. However, the application process is lengthy and time consuming, which consists of an extensive background check, a processing time that can take 4 to 10 months, and an application renewal every two years. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) DACA application Form I-821D, employment authorization, and financial worksheet must be filed together. Use the most up to date forms which can be found on the USCIS site www.uscis.gov/forms.
Dreamers should beware of scammers who may try to offer services of completing the forms for a fee or fast tracking an application. The forms from the official USCIS site are always free to download. “Make sure you seek information about DACA from official government sources such as USCIS or the Department of Homeland Security. If you are seeking legal advice, visit our Find Legal Services page to learn how to choose a licensed attorney or accredited representative.”
The recommending reading below depicts true stories and information about what it’s like to be a Dreamer in America today.