We have prepared and are filing dozens of DACA applications. In that time we've seen a number of issues that slow down the process: people have to save up money, they have to track down paperwork, finish school, or a number of other things before they can file.
A lot of people, however, are waiting to see what happens with the people that filed first. Still others are waiting on the election, because of a belief that if Obama is re-elected in November, the program is safe, but if Obama loses, the program will be in danger because Romney has not yet supported it.
At the end of the day, this all illustrates one important point, one that we at the HMA Law Firm have told each and every one of our clients: Cada caso es diferente - every case is different. I have seen a number of big mistakes people were about to make. For example:
- One young man who entered the US on someone else's visa was told by a church official (who was helping do the cases for free) to file Form I-102 to request a copy of the "real" I-94 card. This does not even make sense: how can you file for a duplicate copy of a fake document, and even if you could, why on earth would you want to?
- Another woman came in with Form I-821D completed by a volunteer and in response to the question "I entered the United States prior to June 15, 2007" had marked "No." The case would have been denied.
- Another young man wanted to file a case and had been told by "his community" to go ahead and try. Unfortunately, he had two juvenile DUI's (driving under the influence of alcohol) which most likely would have barred him from approval. (Juvenile findings of deliquency are not "convictions" per se, and are treated on a case-by-case basis by USCIS, but given that only one adult DUI bars approval under DACA, two juvenile findings most likely would have, as well.)
- Another woman wasn't sure what she had marked on Form I-9 when applying for a job. I explained to her it was a big mistake to file without knowing for sure, because if she had claimed to be a citizen, it could affect her future eligibility for status.
Some cases are simple, others are complex. A lawyer can usually spot a lot of hidden issues that might come up. The number 72,000 is encouraging, but given what we've seen, it's neither too high nor too low: it's what we expected because while there is a lot of interest, there is a lot of work involved in applying, as well.