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Minors facing deportation find new hope through DACA

California is one of the top states that host a large amount of immigrants. Thousands of hardworking people relocate to our state every year, hoping for a chance at a better life. However, this chance isn't always readily available for many immigrants. The obstacles and laws regarding immigration can be complicated and insurmountable for some.

Many of those hopeful for living a better life in America are undocumented minors who moved to the country as children. A large portion of those entering our country are unaccompanied minors, who can face deportation at any time. Last year, 13,454 unaccompanied Mexican minors were apprehended by immigration authorities, most of whom were immediately deported back to Mexico, reports the Huffington Post. While authorities screen unaccompanied minors to be sure they aren't victims of human trafficking, many of them are just trying to escape worse lives elsewhere - particularly from violent areas in Central America, such as Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Undocumented minors, and those who entered the country as children now have reason to hope they can stay in the country through an initiative launched by the Obama Administration in June 2012.

According to the Immigration Policy Center, the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals Initiative, commonly referred to as DACA, suspends the deportation of younger people who are in the U.S. illegally, provided the residents were brought to the country as children, have or are on track to graduate from a U.S. school and would match the criteria set forth under proposed legislation like the DREAM Act.

While the DREAM Act itself is still under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, the two bills have similar paths to legal residency. According to the National Immigration Law Center, those who would qualify under the proposed legislation include:

  • Those who entered the U.S. before age 16.
  • Lived in the U.S. in good standing for at least five years.
  • Currently in school, graduated or earned a GED.

Students who committed crimes or could be removed from the country on other grounds would not be eligible under the DREAM Act, as would someone deemed a security risk, according to the NILC.

Getting help from an immigration attorney

The laws regarding immigration can be confusing even for people who have lived in America all their lives. For anyone facing deportation, having an experienced immigration attorney can make all the difference. If you're worried about yourself or a loved one being deported, or have questions about DACA or other immigration programs, contact an immigration attorney.

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