There are numerous pros and cons to filing for deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA). The most significant advantage is the possibility of obtaining a 2-year renewable work permit. Individuals not eligible for DACA must pay $380,00 filing fee for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which only lasts one year.
A work permit can open a number of doors. Some states, such as California, provide individuals granted a work permit with the opportunity to apply for a driver’s license. Individuals granted a work permit are also more likely to be able to obtain auto insurance and a Social Security card.
Many colleges and universities require students to have a Social Security card to register for classes and be eligible for in-state tuition. A Social Security card is useful when applying for a student loan. Some states require individuals to have a Social Security card to apply for and maintain licenses or certifications for professions such as a nurse or contractor.
If you are granted deferred action, you may request permission to travel outside the U.S. for humanitarian, educational, or employment purposes. Before traveling outside of the United States on advance parole you should consult with an attorney to ensure that you will be able reenter the United States. Additionally it is extremely important to note that after August 15, 2012, if you travel outside the United States, you will not be considered for deferred action; thus you should only consider traveling outside of the United States after you are granted deferred action.
A significant disadvantage of filing is the possibility that a president could change immigration policy and revoke grants of deferred action and work permits.
Under current immigration policy, there is also the danger that if you have or get a criminal conviction while your application is being considered or there is evidence that you committed fraud in your application, DHS will refer your case to ICE. You should not apply for deferred action if you have a significant misdemeanor conviction, or a felony.
Lastly, there is no right to appeal a decision made by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If USCIS makes a mistake and you cannot identify and correct the mistake, you could be deported.
Written by: Kaushik Ranchod
Published by: The Ranchod Law Group