The deadline for extending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is fast approaching. There appears to be bipartisan support for renewing the program, and perhaps making it permanent. Despite such support, the very deserving DACA recipients are stuck in the political wrangling. I meet with DACA recipients often, and this made me think about the different options they might have. I will discuss 4 of them today.
What Are Some of the Alternatives to DACA?
During my meetings with DACA recipients, I find out that they might be eligible for relief, which they did not know about. Here are three of the most common forms of relief
Adjustment of Status (Green Card)
Many Deferred Action recipients have given up hope on applying for permanent residence, perhaps because they came to the United States a very long time ago, without inspection. However, there are several programs that had been passed in the last two decades which might overcome this form of inadmissibility. For example, a DACA recipient might be eligible for relief under INA 245(i), allowing him to adjust status even though they entered without inspection. Some also believe that even though you are married to a United States citizen, they need to be in status, which is incorrect. You should call an attorney to discuss your options before applying for adjustment of status.
Some Deferred Action recipients might be eligible for affirmative or defensive asylum. Even though these recipients have been in the United States for more than one year, they might be eligible because of a personal circumstance or a recent change in their country of citizenship. For example, a recent change in the political climate in the country of citizenship, putting a person’s life in danger, might allow you to apply for asylum. You may be able to apply for asylum with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or before an immigration judge in removal proceedings.
Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Residents
This option is a little bit tricky. A Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipient will have to apply for this form of relief in immigration court. In other words, they have to be in removal proceedings. This might be accomplished if the Dreamer had been previously in removal proceedings, or through voluntary reporting to be placed in removal proceedings. This form of relief cancels the Dreamer‘s removal if he shows that his or her removal would lead to “extreme and unusual hardship” to his or her qualifying relatives.
Some DACA recipients have become husbands, wives, and parents. This form of relief might be possible if you are a parent, a husband, or the wife of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident.
Self Petitions under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
This is one of my favorite forms of relief. This form of relief allows the husband, wife, parent, or child, of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident to self-petition for relief. You may apply for relief id you were battered or abused by a citizen or lawful permanent resident. Several forms of abuse, including physical, emotional, economic or immigration abuse, might qualify you for relief. Entry without inspection might be waived if you qualify as a battered spouse.
You can also apply for relief in immigration court by applying for Cancellation of Removal under VAWA’s special rule.
Do not let politicians determine your future. Call us, or use the form below, to discuss your options.