As the conclusion of President Obama’s administration draws nearer, the future of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) remains uncertain. The DACA program, which President Obama authorized in 2012, was designed to prevent the deportation of unauthorized immigrants who entered the United States as children before June 2007 and who are currently younger than 34. Since its inception, the program has provided nearly 700,000 young people with a measure of stability and employment authorization in the United States.
While both Democratic presidential candidates have indicated that they would continue the DACA program, each of the Republican candidates for president have stated they will end DACA if elected into office. That means that hundreds of thousands of people who are currently protected by DACA would face tremendous disruption in their education and employment under a Republican president.
DACA & Advance Parole
Because of the uncertain future of DACA, now is the time for DACA holders to consider whether they should pursue advance parole while the program is still in existence. Advance parole for DACA recipients allows eligible DACA holders to visit their countries of origin for humanitarian, educational, and/or employment-related reasons and then lawfully return to the U.S. Advance parole is particularly significant for persons who entered the United States without permission because advance parole allows them to secure a lawful entry into the U.S. A lawful entry, in turn, has the potential to make easier the path to permanent legal status in the future for such persons.
Advance parole for DACA holders can only be requested after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved your DACA application. You can’t apply for advance parole while the DACA application is pending. If you travel outside of the United States prior to receiving advance parole approval, USCIS will terminate your DACA deferred action and you will be denied re-entry to the U.S. Also, individuals with deportation orders or serious criminal issues can be refused re-entry by Customs & Border Protection (CBP) even if advance parole is approved. If you have any of these issues, you should consult an immigration lawyer before leaving the U.S.
USCIS considers all advance parole requests on a case-by-case basis and will determine if your reasons for wanting to travel outside the United States are justifiable. Going on vacation is not a valid reason for requesting advance parole.