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Advanced parole offers some immigration opportunities

South Carolinians whose parents were undocumented immigrants may be interested to know that their circumstances could make them eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Immigrants who want to apply must have entered the U.S. before the age of 16 and be at least 15 years old at the time of their application. If they satisfy the previous conditions, came to the U.S. on or prior to June 15, 2007 and were less than 31 years of age on June 15, 2012, they may be eligible to apply.

DACA is restricted to those who haven't been convicted of felonies, major misdemeanors or more than two misdemeanors in total. Individuals believed to be national security threats may be denied, and the program is designed for people who successfully finished high school, earned a GED or are in the process of completing schooling. Those enrolled in career training or literacy education are also eligible.

DACA status grantees can still travel outside of the country. Students can indeed participate in a foreign school trip by getting their passport stamped upon reentry. Even if they subsequently surrendered the advanced parole documentation they had been granted for the trip, they would still be able to prove their entry was lawful.

There are numerous paths to citizenship, but they don't all have the same eligibility requirements. Program-specific guidelines that determine whether applicants are granted specific statuses may be complex. Some programs result in the granting of visas or move the naturalization process forward, but others just defer enforcement action. The rules are subject to change, so individuals who want to become citizens may want to investigate their legal options.

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