In anticipation of DACA going into effect this month, many have not hesitated to declare that applicants for this very important process did not need a lawyer to help them with it. Spanish-speaking media, including TV and Radio, but also some in prominent positions in Congress espoused this view, which in our opinion is ill-conceived. Very badly thought-out. An Undocumented Immigrant or a Visa Overstayer can never consider the USDHS to be their friend. They are always poised to deport or remove both. DACA provides no shelter from that, just a reprieve.
You are always able to apply without attorney help, but after all is said and done, the cost of doing it that way is often too high. A good immigration Attorney is able to perform the usual checks that infallibly reveal many a thing you may have missed and/or omitted. An Attorney will have a deeper understanding of all the information put in the application and the implications and consequences flowing from it all. She or he will go behind the facade and under the floor of the “proverbial building” and look at the foundation. The goal of a decent Attorney will be to make sure that you are on solid grounds and that your application will not leave you worse off than you were prior to applying.
After all, you are coming from a position of invisibility therefore invulnerable, to one of visibility meaning out there for anyone (think USDHS) to “do you harm.” Here, you are seeking a benefit but you must answer the question: at what cost? There is always a cost to things. An Attorney can help define that answer for you in ways that you have not thought of and could not have anyway.
When it comes to any form of contact with law enforcement (USDHS & DACA), whether there was a conviction or not, there still may be something that could disqualify you from DACA. An Attorney can help you understand whether or not you truly are eligible and if you are, whether or not you should apply for it. Just because you may be eligible does not mean that you should necessarily apply for it. DACA is a discretionary relief, meaning that USDHS can do whatever it wants with your application if its decision is not capricious and arbitrary. No Appeals!