DACA for those in removal or with a final order of removal
If you are in removal proceedings or have a final order of removal are generally eligible for DACA if they can provide documentation to show that they meet all seven of the DHS criteria. As long as they have not left the country, they may apply even if they have:
- A final order of removal in absentia; or
- A Voluntary Departure grant that turned into a final order of removal; or
- A final order of removal issued by an Immigration Judge.
However, if you left the country under a final order of removal and then re-entered illegally, you do NOT qualify for Deferred Action and should not apply since you may be placed into detention.
A person who is currently in ICE detention who believes he is eligible for DACA should identify himself to his ICE officer to initiate a case review. Alternatively, he may call the ICE Office of the Public Advocate hotline at 1-888-351-4024 between the hours of 9:00 and 5:00 on Monday through Friday. Someone who is about to be removed by ICE but believes he is eligible for DACA should immediately call the same ICE hotline.
If you are in removal proceedings or have a final order of removal but are not in detention, you must follow the normal application process with DHS. If you are in this category, you may apply for DACA even if you are under 15 as long as you were under 31 on June 15, 2012.
If you are currently in proceedings, once your Deferred Action application is filed, the Immigration Judge presiding over your removal case is likely to “continue” (postpone) proceedings until USCIS reaches a decision. If Deferred Action is granted, your removal case will probably be administratively closed. When this happens, you are still in deportation proceedings, but your case is indefinitely removed from the court’s docket.
There are some special risks associated with applying for DACA if you have a final order of removal. A consultation with an experienced immigration attorney is highly recommended.