DACA Information

EBCLC/USP DACA UPDATE (as of 07/20/2022)

EBCLC is aware of the on-going litigation surrounding the DACA program. Oral arguments in the Texas v. United States case were heard on Wednesday, July 6th. According to MALDEF, one of the organizations who presented arguments at the hearing, there is no time limit on when the court must issue a decision, meaning it could take weeks or months. You can refer to their website for more detailed information: https://www.maldef.org/2022/07/maldef-statement-on-daca-appeal/. We recommend that folks whose DACA status is set to expire in the next 12 months make an appointment to submit your DACA renewal application.

In response to this matter, EBCLC has done everything possible to expand our capacity for these next two months in order to expedite services for students impacted by this litigation. As part of these efforts, we have created a separate appointment booking system for students requesting DACA renewal services, which can be accessed here: https://EBCLCImmigrationLegalClinic.as.me/?calendarID=7049173. We believe that this is the most appropriate course of action given the situation and more directly addresses the need for expedited services for students impacted by the DACA litigation as opposed to our regular appointment screening process.

Students who are requesting assistance with any other legal matter besides a DACA renewal can continue to schedule appointments via our regular booking system found here: https://ebclcimmigrationlegalclinic.as.me/USPLegal.

**Special note regarding Initial DACA applications: If you are interested in being screened for or represented in an initial DACA appointment, please schedule an appointment via our regular booking system. Our team reviews all appointment bookings and will reach out to you to meet with you sooner than your originally scheduled appointment date.**

If you have any questions about the scheduling options please email us at usplegal@ebclc.org. We will continue to review any information related to any forthcoming decision and update the community accordingly.

In solidarity,
EBCLC/USP Immigration Legal Team

 

The East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), the legal partner of UC Berkley’s Undocumented Students’ Program, assists current students and students within 6 months of graduation or separation who need assistance with DACA and Advance Parole. UC Berkeley students who need assistance with their DACA renewals and Advance Parole applications can use our online appointment system to book an appointment with the USP legal team/East Bay Community Law Center. Please note that due to a high demand for services, the next available appointment time may be for a date many weeks from now.

Even if none of the available appointment times work for you, or you have a deadline that falls before the next available appointment, please still fill out an appointment request anyway and be as detailed as possible in your appointment request. Our office reviews consultation requests several times in the work week (Monday through Friday) and contacts people who self-identify as having an urgent deadline to possibly meet with you sooner. We also use the information gathered in the appointment request to determine your eligibility for fee assistance for DACA, DACA Advance Parole, and other immigration relief applications.

What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DACA is an administrative relief that protects eligible immigrants who came to the United States when they were children from deportation. DACA gives undocumented immigrants: 1) protection from deportation, and 2) a work permit. The program requires that the DACA status and work permit be renewed every two years.

DACA TODAY

On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued a memorandum noting his administration’s intent to both preserve and fortify DACA. While it is not yet clear what the word “fortify” may mean for the future of DACA, it is apparent that this administration has – at the very least – committed to preserving DACA in its original form.

If you want to read more about the timeline of DACA and more information about the DACA program today, you can visit:

Texas v United States: A Timeline of The Fight to Protect DACA | MALDEF 

DACA REQUIREMENTS

  • You were under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012;
  • You first came to the United States before your 16th birthday;
  • You have lived continuously in the United States from June 15, 2007 until the present;
  • You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time you apply;
  • You came to the United States without “valid” documents before June 15, 2012, or your lawful status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  • You are currently studying, or you graduated from high school or earned a certificate of completion of high school or GED, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or military (technical and trade school completion also qualifies); and
  • You have NOT been convicted of a felony, certain significant misdemeanors, or three or more misdemeanors of any kind. Consult with an attorney about ANY contact you have had with law enforcement or immigration authorities before applying.

INITIAL DACA APPLICATIONS

Initial DACA applications (for those people who are applying for the very first time) can be submitted to USCIS but are not currently being reviewed or approved by USCIS. You can find up to date information here. We will also keep this page updated.

UC Berkeley students who need assistance with their DACA renewals can use our online appointment system to book an appointment with the USP legal team/East Bay Community Law Center. If you cannot make one of these appointment times, or if you are unable to make any of the available appointment times, and/or if you have an urgent matter, please make an appointment using the online system anyway and then also contact the USP legal team at usplegal@ebclc.org. Please allow at least 3 business days for staff to get back to you. Feel free to reach out with any questions.

DACA RENEWALS

All DACA renewals are being accepted by USCIS. Please get help and do not apply alone. UC Berkeley students who need assistance with their DACA renewals can use our online appointment system to book an appointment with the USP legal team/East Bay Community Law Center. We strongly recommend that you schedule an appointment to renew your DACA 6 months before expiration. If you cannot make one of these appointment times, or if you are unable to make any of the available appointment times, and/or if you have an urgent matter, please make an appointment using the online system anyway and then also contact the USP legal team at usplegal@ebclc.org. Please allow at least 3 business days for staff to get back to you. Feel free to reach out with any questions. See below for detailed list of required documents. Reminder to only send copies (not originals) of support documents.

Please note: USCIS treats requests filed a year or more after the expiration as initial DACA requests and is currently prevented from approving them. Please see above for more information about Initial DACA applications.

Complete DACA renewal Applications:

    • G-28 – Notice of Entry of Appearance As Attorney (Optional)
    • G-1145 – E-Notification (Optional)
    • Form I-821D – Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals;
    • Form I-765 – Application for Employment Authorization (work permit);
    • Form I-765WS – Worksheet explaining your economic need to work; and
    • Copy of front/back of current Employment Authorization Document (work permit).
    • Submit Applications: Include all supporting documents, two passport-sized photos and fees. The fee is $495.00 (pay using a check or money order payable to Department of Homeland Security). If you are a UC Berkeley student, your application fees will be covered by USP. Mail to: USCIS Phoenix Lockbox, PO Box 20700, Phoenix, Arizona 85036-0700. As of April 12, 2022, USCIS announced that individuals may now file their DACA renewal online. 
    • Background Check and Fingerprints: You will receive a receipt by mail that contains your receipt number and an appointment notice to get your fingerprints and photo (biometrics) taken for a background check.
    •  Final Steps: Once you have been fingerprinted, you will receive either a letter asking for additional information (called a Request for Evidence) or a final decision. According to USCIS, the current processing time for DACA renewals are 3 to 3.5 months. You can find the most up to date information about processing times here

What is DACA Advance Parole?

DACA Advance Parole is an administrative procedure that allows a person inside the United States, who seeks to travel abroad, to receive advance authorization to re-enter the United States upon their return.

DACA ADVANCE PAROLE REQUIREMENTS

Individuals that have already received deferred action under DACA may request permission to temporarily travel outside of the United States through advance parole.

USCIS will currently only grant advance parole to DACA recipients if the travel abroad is in furtherance of one of the following categories:

  1. Humanitarian purposes, including travel to obtain medical treatment, attending funeral services for a family member, or visiting an ailing relative;  
  2. Educational purposes, such as semester-abroad programs and academic research; or
  3. Employment purposes such as overseas assignments, interviews, conferences, training, or meetings with clients overseas.

Travel for purely vacation purposes is not a valid basis for advance parole for DACA recipients.

APPLYING FOR DACA ADVANCE PAROLE

UC Berkeley students who are interested in applying for DACA Advance Parole, we recommend scheduling an appointment at least 13 – 16 months prior to your expected travel date on our online appointment system. If you cannot make one of these appointment times, or if you are unable to make any of the available appointment times, and/or if you have an urgent matter, please make an appointment using the online system anyway and then also contact the USP legal team at usplegal@ebclc.org. Please allow at least 3 business days for staff to get back to you. Feel free to reach out with any questions.

We acknowledge that this may be difficult and even frustrating for students to have to make plans so far in advance. This is our recommendation based on the posted processing times and our real-time experience with these applications. We believe that following these timeframes will help our clients be as successful as possible in their legal cases. **If you need an Advance Parole document to travel for an urgent reason, like a family member abroad is seriously ill or to attend a funeral, please schedule an appointment ASAP so that we can review your options.**

Requirements to Request DACA Advance Parole: 

    • Have a valid passport from your home country.
    • In evaluating the advance parole application, USCIS will look at the evidence submitted by the applicant to support their reason for travel outside the United States. Any supporting documents submitted in a language other than English must be accompanied by a full, certified English translation. The instructions to Form I-131 and the Standard Operating Procedure for DACA list some examples of appropriate evidence for requesting advance parole under each of the three categories. 
    • Evidence to support an advance parole application for humanitarian purposes should show “emergent, compelling or sympathetic circumstances,” and might include:
      • Documentation of a family member’s serious illness or death, such as a letter from a hospital or treating physician explaining the family member’s illness or a death certificate of a deceased relative, or
      • A letter from the applicant’s physician explaining the nature of the applicant’s medical condition, the specific medical treatment sought outside of the United States, and a brief explanation of why travel outside of the United States is medically necessary. *Note: If the reason for traveling is connected to a family member, it is generally advisable to also include evidence proving the family relationship between the DACA recipient and the person they are visiting.
    • Evidence to support an advance parole application for educational purposes may include:
      • A letter from the applicant’s educational institution or from an employee of the institution acting in their official capacity explaining why the travel is required or beneficial; and 
      • A document showing enrollment in a specific program or class requiring travel.
    • Evidence to support an advance parole application for employment purposes must show that the travel relates to “fulfilling job requirements,” and may include:
      • A letter from the applicant’s employer describing the need for travel; or
      • A document showing a specific employment need, such as a conference program that also shows the applicant’s participation

RISKS AND POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF ADVANCE PAROLE

Risks:

  • Even with advance parole, there is no guarantee that a DACA recipient will be allowed to re-enter the U.S. after traveling, as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers have discretion to deny entry. Speak to your legal representative before you decide to apply and travel outside of the U.S. It is important that any travel with advance parole is consistent with the dates and purpose stated in the approved application.
  • Before applying for advance parole, be sure to talk to your legal representative about the following: 
    • your history of entries into the U.S., particularly if you exited and re-entered the U.S.; 
    • any interaction with the police; 
    • any documents you received that indicated you need to go to immigration court; 
    • any time you went to immigration court;
    • any other issues that you think may affect your immigration status

Potential path to permanent residency (i.e. green card) via advance parole:

  • Advance parole can be very helpful for a DACA recipient who has (or may have in the future) a family member that is: 
    • a U.S. citizen spouse, 
    • a U.S. citizen parent (if you are under 21 and unmarried), 
    • or a U.S. citizen child at least 21 years old 
  • If you have one of the types of family members listed above, called “immediate relatives” in immigration practice, you could be eligible to apply for permanent residency. That is because people who came to the U.S. without permission are considered “inadmissible,” which can make it difficult or impossible for the permanent residency application to be successful. However, traveling outside of the U.S. and re-entering with advance parole overcomes the inadmissibility problem, because an entry into the U.S. with advance parole is an entry with permission. There are more factors to consider so talk to your attorney about this option.

Information provided by East Bay Community Law Center, usplegal@ebclc.org.

Last updated on 04/20/2022.