ON June 4, 2019, CBS News reports that House Democrats passed its latest version of the DREAM Act, called the DREAM and Promise Act of 2019. The bill will be sent to the Republican-controlled Senate.
What the DREAM and Promise Act of 2019 proposes. The proposed bill would:
• Grant young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children an opportunity to acquire permanent lawful status if they meet certain requirements. This includes individuals who have already received DACA under the Obama Administration.
• The grant of permanent lawful status will be conditional for 10 years if they meet certain criteria.
• Prospective applicants must have been younger than eighteen years old when they came to the United States; must have lived in the United States continuously for four years; must have a U.S. High School Diploma or GED; and must pass a background check.
• Individuals who have committed serious crimes would be ineligible.
• Under the bill, eligible applicants will be placed on a pathway to citizenship provided that they earn a college degree or complete two years of a degree program in an institution of higher education or technical school.
• Those who served honorably in the military or have been employed in the United States for more than three years will also be placed on a pathway to citizenship under the proposed bill.
• The proposed bill would also grant DREAMers access to federal financial aid for college.
The fate of this Bill is uncertain in the hands of the Republican-controlled Senate as well as the threat of a veto against it by the White House. Still, DREAMers should remain hopeful that the fight continues.
Until then, the current Obama-era DACA program remains available for those who are eligible and choose to avail of its benefits, albeit limited.
Deferred Action (DACA) Renewals. At last report, as of January 22, 2019, “the U.S. Supreme court had not taken action on the Trump Administration’s request to expedite a ruling on the court decisions that keep DACA program in place.” The new term for the Supreme Court starts this October 2019. For now, “DACA protections will likely remain in place” under current court rulings.
Individuals who were previously granted DACA may request renewal of their deferred action and their employment authorization with the appropriate fee or approved fee exemption request at the USCIS designated filing location, and in accordance with instructions in the Form I-821D and form I-765 applications.
USCIS is not accepting requests from individuals who have never been granted deferred action under DACA. Moreover, USCIS will not accept or approve applications for Advance Parole request from DACA recipients.
Credit card payments now accepted for filing fees. USCIS announced last year that it will accept credit cards as a form of payment for certain applications, such as Adjustment Applications. Previously, USCIS had begun to accept credit cards as a form of payment for Naturalization applications.
Consult with a licensed and experienced immigration attorney before filing. While it is very good news that (1) individuals are still able to file for renewal DACA requests; and that (2) more applications are now payable via credit card, individuals must nevertheless proceed with caution when filing for any application with USCIS. Just because it is easier now to file for an application does not mean that you should. We urge individuals to pause and take the time to consult with a licensed and experienced immigration attorney before submitting any application with USCIS.
* * *
Atty. Lilli Berbano Baculi is an associate attorney with Chua Tinsay & Vega, A Professional Legal Corporation (CTV) – a full service law firm with offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento and Philippines. The information presented in this article is for general information only and is not, nor intended to be, formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Call or e-mail CTV for an in-person or phone consultation to discuss your particular situation and/or how their services may be retained at (619) 955-6277; (415) 495-8088; (916) 449-3923; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.chuatinsayvega.com.