Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, otherwise known as DACA, was announced on June 15, 2012 by the Obama Administration. The modern immigration policy aimed to allow certain immigrants who were brought illegally to America as children to temporarily remain in the States. Through DACA, these individuals could receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation. DACA could also help certain individuals become eligible for a U.S. work permit. Applications for the program were accepted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services starting August 15, 2012.
What Did DACA Do?
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was formed through executive action in 2012 by former President Barack Obama. Recipients, who were known as ‘Dreamers,’ had the opportunity to acquire consideration of deferred action for two years. After the initial period, the action could be renewed. Similar to Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), individuals could request DACA status if they met certain eligibility requirements. First, the individual must be under age 31 on June 15, 2012. The individual must also have come to the U.S. before turning 16 years old. To be eligible, the person must also have had continuously lived in the United States since June 15, 2007.
Nearly 800,000 youth are affected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Research has shown that the program was successful in increasing the wages and participation in labor of eligible immigrants, while also minimizing the amount of illegal immigrant households in the U.S. who live in poverty. Other studies found that DACA helped improved mental health among DACA-eligible individuals and their children. It was also noted that there is no evidence that showed that DACA holders were more likely to commit crimes in the United States then U.S. citizens. To be eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, recipients cannot have felonies on their records or serious misdemeanors.
It is important to understand that the grant of deferred action does not grant legal status to eligible applicants. It also does not remedy an applicant’s prior periods of unlawful presence. However, applicants who are granted deferred action are deemed to be accruing unlawful presence in the United States throughout the time in which the deferred action is in effect. In some cases, an application for deferred action will be denied. In this case, you cannot file an appeal. However, the applicant does have the option to file again. However, any application fees will also need to be paid again.
Why Did DACA End?
In September 2017, the Trump Administration announced its plan to phase out DACA for current recipients. While Trump stated that no new requests would be granted, a lower court order required the continuation of renewal applications acceptances for those currently under the program. In early 2018, Trump released the “four pillars” of immigration reform, which provided a provision for legal status for Dreamers and other individuals who would be eligible for DACA status. This was estimated to include 1.8 million people. However, the Senate rejected the plan. Although the end of DACA is near, polls released from an NBC News poll concluded that 62 percent wanted it to continue, while just 19 percent agreed to end it.
Speak to an immigration attorney at Johnson & Masumi, PC if you need legal counsel regarding DACA.