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 Deferred Action (DACA) program by reading our earlier article.
In this article we will focus on the recent questions on whether or not individuals with deferred action can receive their permanent residence “green card” and whether or not individuals with deferred action can travel overseas and re-enter the United States.
Question 1: Can individuals with approved deferred action travel overseas and return to the United States:
Answer: This is an excellent question. Most individuals who have applied and received their approved deferred action (DACA) are ready to travel overseas to visit their family after being out of status for so long. The truth is that individuals with deferred action do not have a legal pass to travel outside of the United States without prior approval. An approval of deferred action simply means that the individual can remain in the United States temporarily without fear of removal. However, deferred action is not a permanent immigration status that would allow an individual to return to the United States. Deferred action is not a visa. If an individual with deferred action wishes to travel overseas he or she must first apply and receive an approved advance parole travel document from Immigration. This travel document will increase his or her chances of being able to return the United States. Advance parole travel document is usually only granted for emergency travel. In addition, the individual is limited as to how many trips he or she is able to take on the advance parole travel document. Finally, not everyone who receives an approved advance parole travel document will be permitted to re-enter the United States. The issue of whether an individual would be permitted to re-enter the United States is based on the specific facts of that individual’s case and individuals with approved deferred action should never leave the United States without first consulting with a knowledgeable immigration attorney.
Question 2: Can I apply for my permanent residence “green card” if I have approved deferred action?
Answer: Currently, individuals with approved deferred action are not permitted to apply and/or obtain their permanent residence “green card.” This is simply not an option under the current immigration laws. Presently the deferred action program is designed to allow an individual to receive a work permit so that they can work. In addition, the deferred actions program allows individuals to have a temporary status that places them in a temporary legal status and protects them from deportation. We are hopeful that in the future individuals with deferred action will be permitted to receive permanent residence “green card” and then their U.S. Citizenship.
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. 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 life planning (trusts & wills). We can be reached at 678-736-5600 or via email at
[email protected] and www.byarslawgroup.com