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Renewing DACA status for students

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​Community college students who are undocumented immigrants and have been approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status can renew their referral for two years, which means they’ll be more likely to stay in school.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting renewal requests immediately and will continue to accept requests for DACA from individuals who have not previously sought to access the program, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced on Thursday. The forms are available online.

The DACA program was authorized in 2012, and the first DACA approvals will begin to expire this coming September. USCIS encourages requestors to submit their renewal request approximately 120 days before their current period of deferred action expires.

As of April, more than 560,000 individuals have been approved for DACA status.

DACA is not the Dream Act, however, and is not considered a path to citizenship. It also varies from state to state whether students with DACA status are eligible for in-state tuition.

To qualify for DACA status, immigrants must demonstrate that they came to the U.S. when they were under age 16, are not over age 30, have continuously resided in the U.S. for a least five years, are high school graduates or currently in school, and have not been convicted of a felony.

“Despite the acrimony and partisanship that now exists in Washington, almost all of us agree that a child who crossed our border illegally with a parent, or in search of a parent or a better life, was not making an adult choice to break our laws, and should be treated differently than adult law-breakers,” Johnson said.