W&A Immigration Law Update
Late last week the House passed two bills that would establish paths to citizenship or legal status for millions of undocumented immigrants. These bills are the American Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. The American Dream and Promise Act largely applies to what are known as Dreamers.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was established on June 15, 2012. DACA is primarily based on prosecutorial discretion providing relief from deportation/removal for young undocumented immigrants brought into the US as children. To be eligible, applicants must have arrived in the U.S. before turning 16 years of age and were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012. Additional requirements include: continuous residence in the U.S. from June 15, 2007 to present; entered without inspection; are either in school or obtained a GED; and haven’t been convicted of any crimes or pose a threat to national security. DACA did not provide permanent legal status and was to be renewed every two years.
On September 5, 2017, no new applications were being accepted for DACA. The “wind down” of DACA also precluded renewals. This was ultimately challenged by U.S. District Courts. On June 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration’s attempt to terminate the program was unlawful. As such, the DACA program was restored which brought hope to many.
The current legislation could result in 2 million Dreamers on a path to citizenship. All House Democrats voted to approve the legislation, and nine Republicans voted with them in a 228-197 vote. The American Dream and Promise Act would allow DACA recipients and other unauthorized immigrants who arrived in the US before the age of 18 to apply for a ten-year conditional permanent residency. Applicants qualify if they earned a college degree or attended a bachelor’s program for two years, served in the military for two years, or worked in the U.S. for three years.
Requirements for the American Dream and Promise Act are as follows:
Continuous physical presence on or before January 1, 2021
Eighteen (18) years or younger on initial date of entry into U.S.
Are not inadmissible for other legal grounds.
Graduate from high school, obtain GED, or in an apprenticeship program.
Pass security and law enforcement background.
Children of certain temporary workers who arrived in the U.S. at the age of 18 or younger are also eligible.
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This Wandro & Associates Update is intended to inform firm clients and friends about legal developments, including recent decisions of various courts and administrative bodies. Nothing in this Practice Update should be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion, and readers should not act upon the information contained in this Update without seeking the advice of legal counsel.