The first Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applications have been accepted by the USCIS today. This means that certain eligible, young, undocumented immigrants will be relieved of the possibility of their removal from the country that they have come to call home and they will now be able to apply for work authorization. The process for acceptance has not yet come to an end but the ball is rolling. The next step for these immigrants in the process is to attend an interview with the USCIS where their fingerprints will be taken and a background check will be conducted to ensure that they are entirely eligible for the DACA benefits.
One of the most interesting things about the DACA program is how it will halt the accumulation of illegal presence. While these immigrants are still here illegally and the program does not actually grant any sort of legal status upon them they aren’t necessarily here illegally either. As long as an applicant has not begun to accrue illegal presence they may still be eligible for immigration benefits, especially the green card lottery. Immigrants do not collect unlawful presence until they turn 18 years old so if they are granted deferred action under DACA before their 18th birthday they may be able to apply for other immigration benefits as well as work in the United States.
Each of these applications are independently examined and reviewed by USCIS staff and because of the attention to detail the estimated wait time for these applications is somewhere in the four to six month range.
Immigration is a highly politicized topic in the United States and has become an important issue in the upcoming presidential election. Conservatives criticize the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals for either being amnesty, an election ploy or a circumvention of the lawmaking process in America. However, it has been no secret that the Obama administration has wanted to implement some sort of relief for illegal immigrants in the United States since the beginning of the term, the order violates no laws and does not confer legal status.