SSA: DACA Recipients may be Eligible for Social Security Number
In August, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rolled out the application process for the new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program allows certain undocumented immigrants, brought here as children, to live and work legally in the United States, on a two-year grant of deferred removal (deportation). In due course, other agencies are working to determine what benefits or privileges - if any - their programs might provide to DACA recipients. For instance, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced that DACA recipients are barred from a variety of health benefits that it funds and/or administers. (See HHS Rule: No Health Benefits For Deferred Action Recipients, MurthyBlog, 08.Sep.2012.)
The landscape changes when it comes to the Social Security number (SSN). According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), people granted both DACA status and an employment authorization document (EAD) may be eligible for a Social Security number (SSN). (See Social Security Number - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Social Security Administration.) Upon receipt of EAD (Form I-766) from USCIS, the SSA WebSite advises that DACA recipients may apply for the SSN. They are instructed to apply in person at the nearest Social Security office. Applicants must furnish proof of age and identity, presenting either original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency. The complete list of acceptable documents is available on the SSA WebSite. Further information on SSN eligibility is available online as well. It should be noted that receipt of the SSN does not grant any government benefits; it is tied to employment-related tax and required contribution tracking.
Driver's licenses are yet another matter; it's up to individual states to determine whether DACA recipients should be accorded driving privileges, and the much-coveted driver's license. According to USA Today, Georgia and Oregon are among the states planning to extend driving privileges to DACA recipients, with California poised to join them. (See Young Illegal Immigrants May Get Drivers' Licenses, USA Today, 15.Sep.2012.) Arizona and Mississippi are having none of this, USA Today reports, and will refuse drivers' licenses to DACA recipients. Expect to see more on this issue before the year is out.
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