DACA Program for Undocumented Youth Renewed


(Above photo: Ju Hong, a DACA recipient and immigration reform activist, famously interrupts President Obama’s speech last November. Photo via PRI.)

The U.S. Homeland Security recently announced the renewal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was set to expire in September.

The program allows undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to legally reside and work for two years. More than 560,000 individuals have received DACA as of April 2014, and according to data released by USCIS, 7,504 of the applicants are from South Korea.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it would begin accepting renewal requests immediately as well as requests from new eligible applicants. The agency urged renewal applicants to file their requests before their current program expires to avoid a lapse in the period of deferral and employment authorization.

“Despite the acrimony and partisanship that now exists in Washington, almost all of us agree that a child who crossed our border illegally with a parent, or in search of a parent or a better life, was not making an adult choice to break our laws, and should be treated differently than adult law-breakers,” Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said in a statement. “By the renewal of DACA, we act in accord with our values and the code of this great Nation. But, the larger task of comprehensive immigration reform still lies ahead.”

Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus (CAPAC) applauded the news. “This important program has allowed over half a million undocumented youth to come out of the shadows and continue contributing to our society,” Congresswoman Judy Chu, also CAPAC’s chair, said in a statement.

Chu echoed Johnson’s call for a more permanent fix for undocumented youth: comprehensive immigration reform, which would allow them a path to citizenship. She also noted that she was concerned about the low number of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have applied for DACA. “Although approximately 8 percent of undocumented youth who are eligible for DACA are from Asia, only 2.6 percent of DACA applicants are AAPI,” her statement said. “That is why I encourage the USCIS to increase engagement efforts with our community, and ensure undocumented AAPI youth receive the relief they need.”

For more information about the renewal process and eligibility requirements, visit here. Information about national and local DACA information sessions are available here.

Below are the details for DACA applicants, according to Social Justice Solutions:

Applicants for renewal can begin by filing the new version of Form I-821D “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” Form I-765 “Application for Employment Authorization,” and the I-765 Worksheet. There is a filing and biometrics (fingerprints and photo) fee associated with Form I-765 totaling $465. As with an initial request, USCIS will conduct a background check when processing DACA renewals.

USCIS will also host both national and local DACA informational sessions. USCIS will provide further information on these sessions during which USCIS officials will provide additional information on the DACA process and be available to answer your questions. For information on local DACA engagements, please visit www.uscis.gov/outreach.

To learn more about the renewal process or requesting initial consideration of DACA, visit www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.