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Immigration: DACA

Your guide to understanding the immigration conversation in the US.

Who qualifies for DACA?

Who can qualify for DACA?

You can qualify for DACA if you:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor,or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Source:   "Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)". US Citizenship and Immigration Services Archive. https://www.uscis.gov/archive/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca 

DACA

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a government program that allows undocumented immigrants renewable temporary work permits and the right to remain as long as they fit certain criteria.  It was inacted via executive order by President Obama, and went into effect when then then Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano issued a memorandum entitled “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children” on June 15, 2012.

The program was created in reaction to a growing movement of young people who had been brought to America illegally as children and now found themselves trapped in a situation not of their making.  These people, known as DREAMers, pushed lawmakers to pass the DREAM Act, which would give them a path to legal status.  Attempts had been made since 2001 to get the act passed, with no headway being made, so President Obama decided to act via executive order instead.

During his campaign for president, Donald Trump promised his supporters that he would end DACA on his first day in office.  In any event, it was not until June 16, 2017, that the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would repeal President Obama's executive order.  Most DACA holders would be given six months to renew their status for another two years, after which they would lose their right to remain.  Almost immediately this decision was challenged in the courts and on the streets.  On April 24, 2018, a judge on the US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the administration must start accepting new applications for DACA.  He stayed his ruling for 90 days to give the Department of Homeland Security time to explain why DACA should be cancelled.  As of this date, the future of DACA is still unclear.  There are several bills in Congress that could fill in the gap if DACA is indeed done away with, but so far, none of them have been passed.

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