Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
On June 15, 2012, during the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security announced it would implement a program created by executive action named Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA and its recipients as Dreamers. The program allows certain undocumented immigrants who meet certain physical presence, criminal record, and educational requirements to apply to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for deferred action status. During the period of deferred action the applicant is entitled to employment authorization and is protected from removal as long as he/she continues to fulfill the DACA requirements. Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion.
While DACA gives Dreamers the ability to obtain work authorization and gives them the temporary assurance that ICE will not deport them, it is not a pathway to legal permanent residence or citizenship. Additionally, DACA is a policy and not a law and as such it may end or be modified at any time.
The ultimate fate of DACA remains uncertain and its validity in doubt. In June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision blocking the Trump administration’s attempt to dismantle the program. US CIS is still accepting renewal applications, now valid for one-year increments, but is currently no longer accepting initial applications. The Supreme Court’s decision does not preclude the administration from re-attempting to rescind the program, it just concluded that the administration’s first attempt was “arbitrary and capricious.”
We encourage you to consult with our office regarding your existing DACA status and other alternative options that may be available to you.