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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

In June of 2012, under the direction of President Barack Obama, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security halted deportation efforts of certain undocumented youth who came to the U.S. as children. The DHS granted them temporary protections against deportations (otherwise called “deferred action”). Since then, nearly 800,000 formerly undocumented persons have enrolled in the deferred action for childhood arrivals program. Some of the benefits of DACA include the ability to obtain a social security card, get a driver’s license, build credit, get a legal job, have healthcare, as well as the ability to put utility bills in their name. Unfortunately, much has changed since 2012 and the program has been halted until key decisions are made by the U.S. Supreme court. However, those that have previously enrolled in the DACA program are still able to renew their status (for the time being). If you are a DACA enrollee and are considering a renewal, it is recommended that you connect with a knowledgeable DACA immigration attorney to make sure that you are appropriately represented. Give the professionals at Florida Immigration Law Counsel a call to schedule your initial consultation today. 

Who Can Apply For DACA?

As of October 2017, USCIS no longer accepts first-time Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications. These applications were halted via the DACA termination memo. Currently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is only accepting applications from people that are renewing their DACA status. If you have let your status expire or lapse, you are also eligible for renewal (though the process may more difficult). In order to apply for a DACA renewal, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • You must not have left the U.S. anytime after August 15, 2012, without being granted permission by the U.S. government (advance parole). 
  • You must have resided in the U.S. continuously since the time that you first requested DACA status.
  • You must have a relatively clean criminal record (no felonies, no serious misdemeanors, no more than 3 non-significant misdemeanors, and you must not pose any threat to public safety or national security). 

How to Apply For DACA Renewal

Applying for a DACA renewal is a straightforward process. What’s unclear is the amount of time that it will take for your application to be processed and whether it will be approved or denied. Working with an experienced DACA attorney can help to increase your odds of a favorable outcome. Listed below are the recommended steps to take in order to renew your DACA status.

  1. Know when your DACA status is set to expire. The USCIS recommends that you submit your DACA renewal application no more than 150 days before your status is set to expire and no less than 120 days before it does. It’s best to submit your application closer to the 150-day mark. 
  2. Fill out and submit the correct forms  (to the correct location). You will need to fill out the same forms that you completed when you initially applied for DACA. They include Form I-1821D, Form I-765, and Form I-765WS. Ensure that you have the most up to date version of the forms. Also, be sure that the information that you provide on the forms is consistent with what you had on your initial application. 
  3. The USCIS recommends that you do not send in additional documentation.
  4. Ensure that you have enough money set aside for the filing fee which is currently $495. 

What If I Have a Recent Criminal Record?

If you have had any type of involvement with law enforcement since your initial application, it is important that you be transparent with USCIS when sending in your renewal application. Furthermore, if you have been convicted of a felony or otherwise committed infractions that would initially leave you ineligible for DACA, you will likely not have a pathway to renewal. However, if you have been convicted of non-significant misdemeanors or received citations, it is recommended that you do the following before submitting your application:

  • Obtain a background check (FBI background check is recommended)
  • Request your criminal records from the courts in which you were convicted
  • Consult with an experienced DACA attorney 

What is a “significant misdemeanor”?

Just one significant misdemeanor can disqualify you from renewing your DACA status. The Department of Homeland Security classifies a significant misdemeanor as the following (but not limited too):

  • Any misdemeanor conviction that resulted in you being incarcerated for more than 90 days (not including sentences that were suspended). 
  • Misdemeanor offenses (regardless of the jail time sentenced) that include domestic violence, driving under the influence (DUI), unlawful possession of a firearm, significant drug charges (trafficking or distribution), sexual exploitation or abuse, or burglary. 

Does DACA Offer a Path To Citizenship?

Unfortunately, at the moment, DACA does not offer a pathway to citizenship. However, there have been multiple attempts at enacting legislation that would do just that.  Currently, the members of congress, as well as many advocates, are fighting on behalf of “Dreamers” so there is eventually a pathway to citizenship available. The only pathway to citizenship available to DACA recipients at the moment is through marriage to a U.S. citizen. However, it is not recommended to get married for the specific reason of obtaining citizenship as this is an unlawful activity and could negatively affect your current immigration status. 

When To Work With a DACA Attorney

In recent years USCIS has become more strict and denials have increased. Working with a DACA experienced immigration attorney can help to ensure that your application is correctly completed, you met the current qualifications, and your paperwork meets USCIS standards. Furthermore, if you have had any negative interactions with law enforcement since the time of your initial application of you have let your DACA status expire or lapse, it can be advantageous to consult with an immigration attorney before submitting your renewal application. Give the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) professionals at Florida Immigration Law Counsel a call to discuss the specifics of your case in more detail. 

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Testimonials

Saman was referred to me 5 years ago by a family friend who had used her services and was happy with them. When I contacted her, even though she was not my attorney yet, she did not hesitate to talk to me about my case. Later, as my marriage-based case progressed and became more complicated, she was able to help us through each step successfully. Our case got approved thanks to her! Also, my parents were selected in the DV lottery but with the new immigration complications and the fact that my family comes from one of the countries on the banned list, we have been concerned. However, she has managed to help us through their case as well. We appreciate Saman’s knowledge of the system, her availability, and her patience. I feel comfortable texting her at any time to ask her questions when I don’t have the chance to call or write an email. She is on top of it and responds to all of my questions thoroughly and promptly. Would definitely recommend her! Even if you are not sure you need an attorney I would give her a call

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Having to request the services of an Immigration Lawyer is a daunting experience. Saman has the most reassuring attitude, which instantly put me at ease. She and her staff are diligent in planning the appropriate course of action and executing it without delay. She is approachable, warm, knowledgeable, direct and genuine. To me, she is the modern face of Immigration lawyers! If you are reading those reviews here, look no further. Contact her. She'll help you.

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I am extremely happy to have had Saman guide us through an immigration case. She was extremely helpful and dedicated to our case; and ultimately, delivered great results. Would definitely recommend!

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I am very happy to know that I was approve for my green card today thanks to her, and I love the way how she work to help me she make time and talk to me about my case and when I text she would always text me back on time and I most admit I was a little annoying but she put up with me and she did all my paperwork the right way and now I am a happy man . And she also help me with my dui charge so I am grateful to have mrs saman as my attorney she is the best and I will introduce my friend to her . So she can help her and her husband

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My wife and I hired Saman to help us with a permanent residency application. My wife is a U.S citizen and I am Canadian. Right from the start she was very easy to deal with and schedule time with. I was in medical school and in the process of applying for residency. Saman was able to get me an Employment Authorization Document while awaiting my greencard, which meant that I was eligible to apply to significantly more programs because I would not require any visas. Also, during our in-person interview, the interview stated that he has been doing this for 21 years and has never seen anyone this well prepared. Because of this, we were asked very few questions and I was given my green card a week later. I would highly recommend you chose Saman for any and everything to do with immigration.

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It is with pleasure I would like to compliment the executive and legal staff of the Florida Immigration Law Counsel, for their kind, human and professional attention to our most recent process with the Government Immigration Services departments. In particular I would like to commend Saman Movassaghi on her highly detailed preparation of the process resulting in a trouble-free conclusion and the issuing of our required visas. I highly recommend the professional services of this Law Office and Saman for services related to Immigration and wish them well for the future.

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I am very happy to know that I was approve for my green card today thanks to her, and I love the way how she work to help me she make time and talk to me about my case and when I text she would always text me back on time and I most admit I was a little annoying but she put up with me and she did all my paperwork the right way and now I am a happy man

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Saman and her staff were able to assist us in what we felt to be a difficult case which took over 9 months. I want to especially thank Lianette, one of Saman's paralegals, who was continuously diligent and handled the matter with a sense of urgency as if it was a personal matter for herself. If ever needed, we will definitely return. Thank you!

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(Translated by Google) My experience with Saman as my representing attorney was exceptional. She is an extremely professional individual with a clear and focused mind and attitude. She is very knowledgeable and was quick to provide solutions to any unexpected conflicts, and was very patient throughout my entire legal process. Saman was also very reliable and responsive, as was her team at her legal firm, thanks for all you did for us !! we are a super happy customers we strongly recommend her. Our experience with lawyer Saman Movassaghi as a representative was very positive and exceptional, a human person and with a lot of dedication to his work, always pending and accessible to any concerns of his clients, a person who knows what he does very smart and eagerly to solve as difficult as the case may be, I have plenty of words of thanks in the way she and her team handled our case. With professionalism and ethics., we will be forever grateful, I recommend it with closed eyes. Thank you!! (Original) My experience with Saman as my representing attorney was exceptional. She is an extremely professional individual with a clear and focused mind and attitude. She is very knowledgeable and was quick to provide solutions to any unexpected conflicts, and was very patient throughout my entire legal process. Saman was also very reliable and responsive, as was her team at her legal firm, thanks for all you did for us!! we are a super happy customers we strongly recommend her. Nuestra experiencia con la abogada Saman Movassaghi como representante fue muy positiva y exepccional, una persona humana y con mucha dedicacion a su labor, siempre pendiente y accequible a cualquier inquietud de sus clientes, una persona que sabe lo que hace muy inteligente y con muchas ganas de solucionar por mas dificil que sea el caso, me sobran las palabras de agradecimiento en la forma como ella y su equipo llevaron nuestro caso. con profesionalismo y etica., estaremos por siempre agradecidos, la recomiendo con ojos cerrados. Gracias!!

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Saman and her team are very professional, warm and thorough. She used her vast knowledge to ensure my husband and I were well prepared for our interview. Interesting enough the immigration officer expressed how impressed he was with the packet and her knowledge— making for a smooth interview. Additionally, she is just a delight to work with and treated us with such kindness we thought we were only clients. I would recommend her services any day of the week. Can’t say thank you enough!

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If you want the best results, then Florida immigration Law Counsel is your way to go. Saman took all the time in the world to explain every detail about the Labor Cert/EB2 process plus her confidence in the process was unbelievable. She is extremely knowledgeable which automatically gave me so much confidence, because she knew what she was talking about. Saman and Lianette are super-fast to answer e-mails, are always available for calls and they explain everything in detail. Thanks to them my process had no set-backs, plus they always gave me great advise—they know their way around every situation, and their customer service is top of the line!

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Saman Movassaghi provided detailed and precise correct guidance on an immigration matter that my family and I were facing. Her communication and responsiveness is unparallel. I highly recommend hiring her to take care of all your immigration needs. I never expected her to be so in tuned with my situation and really care about the welfare of my family and I as much as she did. 5-Star Service.

- Jacob Rahamim
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