"Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" prevents local students from being deported

By Stephanie Claytor

Published 06/23 2014 12:04AM

Updated 06/23 2014 07:17PM

A half a million undocumented immigrants have been approved for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, since it was announced on June 15, 2012. It's an executive order, signed by President Barack Obama, to prevent young adult immigrants who came to the United States illegally when they were children from being deported. 

Once approved, the immigrants are given authorization to work in the United States, and a social security number so they can attend college and apply for a driver's license. They are not however eligible for financial aid. 

As of March 2014, according to the Department of Homeland Security, 1,342 people have been approved for DACA in Louisiana, 88,106 in Texas, and 3,670 in Arkansas. 

Locally, Catholic Charities of Shreveport has helped more than 160 apply with a 100 percent success rate, according to its Executive Director Jean Dresley. It charges $750 to cover the government fee and the assistance with the application process.

According to the National Undacamented Research Project, which surveyed 2,300 DACA recipients nationwide:

1. 59 percent obtained a new job
2. 33 percent obtained first credit card
3. 57 percent obtained a driver's license
4. 45 percent increased job earning
5. 21 percent obtained healthcare 

The authorization to stay in the country has to be renewed every two years. Applicants must re-apply 120 to 150 days before their authorization expires. Catholic Charities is now helping people reapply. 

Here is a list of qualifications that need to be met in order to be approved:

1.Be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;

2.Came to the United States before reaching 16th birthday;

3.Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;

4.Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;

5.Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;

6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and

7.Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

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