What the new information on DACA means. USCIS release new info that states individuals who received DACA are “legally present” in the U.S. But what does legal presence mean? And what does it mean in comparison to legal status? David Leopold explains in this blog.

Immigration Reports

After the USCIS issued its supplemental DACA guidance yesterday, which included FAQs that stated individuals granted DACA are not considered to be “unlawfully present” in the US, I received many messages from DREAMers, reporters, and others wanting to know what it meant.  Has the USCIS declared that deferred action confers legal status?  If so, why does the USCIS guidance also plainly state that “deferred action does not confer lawful status upon an individual, nor does it excuse any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence”?

Can both be true? Yes. And here’s how:

The language of the USCIS guidance is very technical. Since 1997 the law has included the concept of “unlawful presence”.  It refers to noncitizens who remain present in the US after an illegal entry or the expiration of an authorized period of stay in the US, such as a visitor who fails to depart. A noncitizen who…

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