Jamaica Magazine

Immigration: Update on Deferred Action for Certain Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

This month’s article will focus on Deferred Action for Certain Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Initially when this new immigration benefit became available in 2012 we provided an overview of the requirements of this new Immigration program so that the public could determine if they were eligible to receive this immigration benefit. In this article we are not going to review requirements of the program again. You can view the complete requirements of the DACA program by reading our earlier article at: http://www.jamaicans.com/articles/immigration/Immigrationtwoyeargreencard-2.shtml

In this article we will focus on a new unfortunate development that has occurred in Georgia since DACA was made available to the public and a solution to this new development.

The DACA program requires that individuals who are applying for immigration benefits must show that they are currently in high school, have graduated from high school or that they have a GED certificate or that they are currently enrolled in a GED program. As everyone already knows DACA is a federal immigration benefit.   In addition, all states in the United States have always accepted a foreign unexpired passport as a valid form of photo identification. With the DACA program individuals who were not able to finish high school will need to enroll in a GED Program and ultimately obtain a GED certificate in order to qualify for DACA. Unfortunately the State of Georgia decided that while it could not stop individuals from ultimately acquiring their federal DACA immigration benefits they could prevent individuals in Georgia from enrolling in the State’s GED programs by passing a law that foreign unexpired passports would no longer be accepted as a valid form of photo identification. This is extremely problematic because individuals who only have foreign passports are applying for their immigration benefits because they have no legal status. Consequently, these individuals generally have no Georgia driver’s licenses and so their only form of photo identification is their foreign passport. These individuals had no other option but to enroll in private GED classes which were extremely expensive or leave the state of Georgia to enroll in a GED program outside of Georgia. Both of these options were very costly for these individuals. This action by the State of Georgia has, in some cases, terminated the hopes of many young people who are eager to take their GED prep classes so that they could take and obtain their GED certification. 

Despite this action by the State of Georgia a new organization has provided a solution to this problem. Recently we discovered that an organization called Centro Hispano Marista is now providing free GED class preparation and now individuals no longer have to worry about not being eligible to sign for GED classes because of their foreign passports. Classes are available in English and Spanish. If you know of anyone who would benefit from these free GED classes in Georgia please pass it on. You can contact Centro Hispano Marista at 770-936-2275. You can review their website at: http://centrohispanomarista.org/

The final point is that it appears that most people in the Caribbean community think that Deferred Action (DACA) is mostly for Hispanics. This is not true. We have processed and received approval for a number of young people from Jamaica. The requirements of DACA does not limit this benefit to individuals from specific countries. The benefit is open to all individuals who came to the United States before their 16th birthday and who meet the other requirements. You can view the complete requirements of Deferred Action (DACA) at: http://www.jamaicans.com/articles/immigration/Immigrationtwoyeargreencard-2.shtml or you can contact our firm at 678-736-5600.

Everyone please remember that we write these immigration articles to provide a service to you. We want our articles to address immigration questions and concerns that you want to hear about. If you have a question or an immigration topic that you would like to learn more about you can contact us directly at 678-736-5600 or via email at: [email protected].


Disclaimer: This article is a broad overview of various immigration issues. This article is not legal advice and should not be taken as legal advice. This article is provided as a public service and is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Any reliance on the information contained herein is taken at your own risk. The information provided in this article should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.

 

About the Writer:
Safiya Byars is the founder and senior partner of the Byars Firm, Inc. She is a native of Kingston, Jamaica.  Attorney Byars shows her clients the best ways to get their cases approved the FIRST time while reducing processing times and avoiding immigration red flags that result in delays, denials, and deportation.  The Byars Firm is located at 3720 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Suite D2, Chamblee, Georgia 30341. Attorney Byars handles all immigration matters, deportation defense, family law, and criminal issues. Attorney Byars can be reached at 678-736-5600, 404-992-6506 or via email at [email protected]  and www.byarslawgroup.com.

About the author

Safiya Byars, Esq

Safiya Byars is the founder and senior partner of the Byars Firm. Attorney Byars serves as the Chair of the Family Immigration Continuing Learning Education and the Vice-Chair of the Immigration Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia. She is a native of Kingston, Jamaica. The Byars firm is located at 3720 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Suite D2, Chamblee, Georgia 30341. The Byars Firm handles Immigration, Family, and Estate Planning matters. We can be reached at 678-736-5600 and email: [email protected]