Wonderful news!  A CASA of Monterey County assisted DACA Application has been approved, CASA of Monterey County’s first!

In 2018, one of our Monterey County youth was placed in the Monterey County foster care system due to extreme abuse.  Within five months of entering the system, her DACA status expired.

Assigned a CASA, the youth’s CASA began researching the laws and requirements of DACA.  With the help of her advocate supervisor, they assisted the foster youth with obtaining a valid passport.  They then began compiling the documents and information necessary to complete and submit the DACA and Employment Authorization applications.   The youth received notice this week that the youth’s DACA application was approved and deferral was granted!    The Employment Authorization is still pending, but must be determined within ninety (90) days of the applications being filed.  (The Employment Authorization Application (Form I-765) must be filed together with Form I-821D).

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and was created by President Barack Obama.  Announced on June 15, 2012, the program temporarily (two (2) year increments) shields certain immigrants from deportation and makes them eligible for work permits.  The program allowed for infinite renewals, but was considered a stopgap measure until Congress could address immigration reform.

On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Session declared that DACA would end March 5, 2018.  However, two judges reviewed the administration’s action and ordered the administration to begin accepting renewals again.

To qualify, immigrants have to be under 31 years old at the time the program was announced, have come to the U.S. before reaching their 16th birthday, and have lived in the U.S. continuously since June 15, 2007.  They also had to have been in the U.S. The day of the announcement, be in school, have a diploma or the equivalent or be an honorably discharged veteran, and not have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, three or more misdemeanors, or be a public or national security threat.

Paperwork and proof of the above must be submitted, along with a required $495 fee.  Some immigrants have chosen not to submit or renew their DACA paperwork  due to fear that providing identifying information about themselves or their families  will lead to arrest and deportation.

DACA approval does not constitute employment authorization, nor may it be used in place of an Employment Authorization Document.  An Application for Employment Authorization must also be filed.  Employment Authorization is not guaranteed.