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Erika Jurado-Graham

Erika Jurado-Graham

DACA/DAPA versus Legal Status

Nearly every day, a person with DACA comes to us wanting to know whether he or she should pursue a potential U-Visa or Consular Process case…or just stick with DACA. Or the person believes he may qualify for DAPA in the future and wants to know if he should just “wait for DAPA.” Our response to the client is usually the same: don’t rely on DACA/DAPA! And here is why. Deferred action is a discretionary act by the government, deferring action against an individual for a certain period of time. In other words, deferred action is the government’s way of simply saying it will “look the other way” and ignore a person’s illegal presence at the moment. However, deferred action is temporary and it does not provide lawful status. Deferred action can be taken away by the government at any time. Also, deferred action does not provide a person with a path to citizenship. A person cannot become a legal permanent resident, and eventually a citizen, through DACA. The U-Visa and Consular Process, on the other hand, are ways to obtain legal status and a path to citizenship. This sort of status is more permanent in nature and is not just temporary. Unlike with DACA, legal status cannot just be taken away at a moment’s notice, for no reason. Gaining legal status through the U-Visa, Consular Process, and other ways is much more time-consuming and expensive. However, the benefits provided are much greater! Good things come to those who are patient and work hard!

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