For immigrants arriving to the United States, the American tax system can be a very new and confusing concept. In fact, the U.S. tax system is so complex that most natural-born Americans have difficulty filing each year. As a general rule, U.S. tax law applies to you if you live in the United States or spend a significant amount of time here.
In the United States everyone with income above certain levels is expected to file a tax return. That’s not true in all countries around the world. In many countries, the government withholds taxes from paychecks, and the individual never has to directly file an income tax return. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. agency responsible for collecting taxes.
Whether you are a lawful permanent resident or an undocumented immigrant, it’s important that you get a basic understanding of your tax filing obligations. Continue reading
Since September 2017 the Trump Administration has had a policy to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Although the decision to wind down DACA has been stopped in the courts for now, the future of the program is uncertain. This has put a renewed emphasis for many DACA recipients to find other paths to legal status. Obtaining a DACA green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen is one of the most common ways to gain legal status.
The DACA program does not provide a direct path to permanent residence (green card). However, certain individuals with DACA can apply for permanent residence in the United States. In other words, under current immigration law, no individual can apply for a green card on the basis of having DACA. There must be some other factor that makes a DACA recipient eligible for a green card. These factors may include marriage to a U.S. citizen, certain employment, and others. The most common scenario, and the focus of this article, is a DACA recipient who marries a U.S. citizen and then wants to adjust status to permanent resident. Continue reading
The initial application for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was an exhaustive and challenging process for many. But you should be pleasantly surprised to know that the DACA renewal application is significantly less complicated.
In fact, many DACA applicants are now able to prepare the DACA renewal application by themselves.
Eligibility for DACA Renewal
An individual may be considered for renewal of DACA if he or she met the guidelines for consideration of initial DACA and meets all the following guidelines: Continue reading
For the second time, a federal judge has issued an injunction that orders the Trump administration to continue accepting applications for the DACA program. The New York ruling affirms an earlier court injunction in California that saved the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program from certain death. USCIS is now accepting DACA renewal applications.
On September 5, 2017, attorney general Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration would phase out DACA. At the time of the announcement, eligible applicants could file a DACA application only until October 5, 2017.
Under the federal court ruling, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will now run the DACA program as it was before the September 5 announcement. However, USCIS says that they will not be accepting applications for initial grants of DACA, only renewal applications. Continue reading
It’s probably the first U.S.-government issued identification that you’ve ever had. So losing a work permit from your Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grant can be an exasperating experience. Don’t despair; you can replace a lost DACA card.
It’s important to understand that losing the DACA card, officially known as an employment authorization card, does not mean that you’ve lost your grant of DACA. It’s only a card that proves your deferred action status and authorization to work in the United States.
However, not having the work permit in your possession can create at least two serious problems: Continue reading
Several million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. received a stunning blow last week when the Supreme Court’s deadlocked decision effectively killed President Obama’s new deferred action plans. The immigration actions known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Permanent Residents (DAPA) and an expanded version of the already successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) appear to be hopelessly frozen.
For undocumented immigrants, the clear goal is a path to a long-term legal status. These paths to legal status lead to permanent resident status (green card) and U.S. citizenship. Certain immigrants with no legal status may have some paths available. This article covers those options and who could qualify for them. Continue reading
Tomorrow marks the fourth anniversary of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order. And while the program has positively transformed the lives of many, there is still so much left unaccomplished in those four years. The DREAM has yet to be fully realized.
The DACA program, announced by President Obama on June 15, 2012, provides benefits to young immigrants living in the United States who came to the U.S. at an early age as undocumented immigrants with their parents. Each renewable two-year grant of DACA provides:
- Deferred action — Protection from deportation
- Employment authorization – a work permit that allows the individual to work within the United States
The battle to unfreeze President Obama’s DAPA and expanded DACA executive actions is now in the U.S. Supreme Court
Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments over the lawsuit that froze the implementation of an expansion to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the creation of the new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program. For immigration advocates, this is a major decision in the fight for families.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s recent death and how a new Justice will be selected has injected new fuel into the Democratic and Republican debates. But it’s highly unlikely that a new Justice will be selected before this spring when the Supreme Court takes on expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Permanent Residents (DAPA). Both the DAPA and expanded DACA programs have been blocked by lower courts. In the case known as United States v. Texas, the Supreme Court is expected to make a final decision. Continue reading
After obtaining Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), recipients will generally have to file taxes with DACA. Like everyone else, your income tax return is due April 15th.
If future laws provide a path to citizenship for deferred action recipients, you can bet that your responsibility as a tax paying member of society will be scrutinized. Filing taxes after DACA is a great way to build a solid track record too. Down the road, there’s a good chance you’ll need to show compliance with tax requirements, proof of your income, or prove your physical presence in the United States. Continue reading