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DACA Renewals: Education Requirement Not Too Bad

The release of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal form at the beginning of June 2014 answered one of the pressing questions for DACA applicants who had not completed high school. That question was “How much progress towards getting my diploma or its equivalent must I make to renew?”

The initial DACA application required immigrants to prove that they either had a high school diploma or that they were in an educational program preparing them for high school graduation or its equivalent.

Some immigrants did not apply for DACA because they wrongly believed that they would have to graduate from high school before they could renew their work permits issued under the program. The new renewal form, should set those fears at rest. There is no requirement that the high school education be completed in order to renew.

In fact, the renewal form does not ask any questions about current educational status. If a person was initially granted DACA, the fact that he or she may no longer be in school does disqualify them from renewing. In addition, the person filing for DACA renewal does not have to submit any new evidence of being in school.

The only DACA renewers who have to provide additional documentation are those who have been arrested or those who have had immigration problems since they first applied for the program.

There are two messages that DREAMers can take away:

  1. When your time to renew comes up, it should be a relatively painless process, apart from the hefty fees of course.
  2. If you have been holding back on filing an initial application for DACA because you were afraid that the renewal process would be too tough, there is no reason to wait any longer. The renewal system looks to be a whole lot simpler than many feared. If you have not yet filed an initial application for DACA, there is still time to do so if you are otherwise qualified.

Patrick Young is an attorney at the Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) in Hempstead.

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