Immigration Office to families: Prepare now

Published: July 1, 2024

Catholic Immigration Services, with offices in Little Rock and Springdale, issued the following statement, June 28, 2024, regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

En Español

"On June 18, in honor of the 12th anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), President Joe Biden announced an upcoming executive order designed to keep families together during the immigration process.

Under our current laws, people who entered the United States without inspection may not become legal permanent residents until they leave the country and legally return with inspection at a port of entry. However, depending on the circumstances, immigrants who have stayed in the United States without lawful status may have to wait outside the country for a period of up to 10 years before reentering.

This is especially hard for parents who are required to leave their families for years while waiting to be admitted.

The recent executive order seeks to prevent this by allowing anyone who, as of June 17, is married to a United States citizen and has been continuously present in the United States for a minimum of 10 years to be admitted without leaving the country.

There are many misconceptions about the order since immigration law is extremely convoluted and very little information has been officially released. Nobody knows when the order will go into effect; during the announcement, President Biden vaguely stated, “later this summer.”

Also, we have no clue what form the process will take, what it will cost, how long it will take or the exact evidence that will be required.

What is certain is that everyone who is eligible can start preparing now. While it is too early to make an appointment with an immigration attorney or specialist —  our office is not even taking appointments to discuss it yet — you can start collecting evidence on your own.

It will be necessary to prove 10 years of continuous presence in the United States. This may take the form of paystubs, utility bills, medical records, school records, etc. Although it is unlikely to be as stringent as initial DACA applications, it is always a good idea to have more ready than will be needed.

Finally, it is a good idea to take everything you read about this action (even this) with a grain of salt. The best way to stay informed about this action is to go directly to its source. The 'Briefing Room' on the White House’s website ( has released several statements about it and will continue to do so whenever there are developments.

Also, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services 'newsroom' (  — although it has not released anything as this statement — is always a great place to learn about developments in immigration.

President Biden also announced upcoming changes to work-based immigration visas for DACA recipients who have graduated from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education. He stated these visas would become easier but did not specify how. More information should be available soon."