Young applicants seeking DACA relief may be surprised to find out that other forms of relief are available to them. According to a story in the New York Times, immigration lawyers are often able to identify alternate forms of relief in addition to DACA.
DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and is a discretionary policy that was issued by the Obama administration last year. Qualifying applicants are granted a two-year deferral for any removal proceedings by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Recipients of DACA may get work authorization and may renew at the end of two years. Applicants must be between the ages of 15 and 31, must have no prior removal proceedings, and must have no substantial criminal history. Other requirements apply.
According to the article, young people seeking DACA often find out that other forms of relief are also available. For example, the article features a young woman who went to a non-profit legal services organization seeking DACA, and was told she might qualify for a U Visa, on the basis of sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother's boyfriend.
The U Visa is a form of relief available to undocumented immigrants who have been victims of certain crimes perpetrated by American citizens. The rationale is that the prospect of immigration relief will encourage undocumented immigrants to participate in the prosecution of their abusers. Undocumented immigrants are especially vulnerable to certain crimes because they are fearful of immigration consequences. Other qualifying crimes includes abduction, domestic violence, trafficking and rape (among others).
The article's authors interviewed dozens of immigration lawyers around the country, who said that as many as 25% of people seeking DACA have another form of relief available to them. Often, the first thing an immigration lawyer asks her clients about is family history. Because the statute controlling immigration, the Immigration and Nationality Act, is very complex, it may be confusing someone who does not practice immigration law. Thus, certain immigrants are eligible for permanent residence or even citizenship based on their family relationships, but are unaware of it.
For more information about applying for DACA and family-based petitions, please contact the Law Offices of Matthew H. Green. We have offices in Phoenix and Tucson to better serve our clients throughout Arizona.