Helping You Pursue Your American Dream
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is a program created by the Obama administration in 2012. Its intent is to protect young people who had been brought to the U.S. without visas as children from being deported, and to give them work authorizations, contingent on them being of good character and staying in school.
A Program In Flux
The status of the DACA program has been mutable since the Trump administration announced its intention to end the program in September of 2017. At that time, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security rescinded the 2012 memorandum creating DACA, staing that as of September 5, 2017, the government would no longer process any new DACA applications. Individuals who had DACA at that time would have been permitted to retain their status until the expiration date listed on their Employment Authorization Document (EAD). DACA recipients whose EADs expired before March 5, 2018 would have been permitted to apply for renewal, but the renewal application must have been filed before October 5, 2017. DACA recipients with an EAD that expired after March 5, 2018, would not have been permitted to renew their status, and would have returned to their previous unauthorized status.
The Situation Now
Several courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have since deemed President Trump’s efforts to end DACA to be unlawful. In June of 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court deemed the attempt to end DACA to be “arbitrary and capricious.” That July, a Maryland federal court ordered the Department of Homeland Security to start accepting new applicants again. Shortly thereafter, the acting Department of Homeland Security secretary issued a memorandum blocking new applications and reducing the renewal period for existing DACA recipients from two years to one. Subsequetnly, that secretary was found to have been unlawfully serving in that role, and a New York federal court ordered the Department of Homeland Security to resume accepting applications under the same requirements that existed before September 5, 2017. As the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services outlines, successful applicants must show that they:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 (i.e., you have not had your 31st birthday as of June 15, 2012);
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- 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;
- Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- 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
- 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.
If you are approved for DACA, you are legally permitted to remain in the U.S., and you may be granted work authorization. It is not immigrant status, and you will not get a green card just based on being a DACA recipient. It will, however, enable you to seek the best employment options available to you, openly and legally.