Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
On June 15, 2012, the Obama administration announced that it will offer “deferred action” to immigrants who came to the United States as children and meet other specific requirements. This Presidential executive action instantly granted hundreds of thousands of young individuals the ability to gain temporary legal status and the right to work lawfully in the U.S. This executive action temporarily eliminates the possibility of deportation for millions of youths who qualify.
When an immigrant is granted “deferred action,” it means the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has deemed the individual a low priority for immigration enforcement and has chosen to exercise its discretion and not deport the individual. Deferred action provides temporary relief from deportation but unfortunately may be revoked at any time due to USCIS policy change or Presidential executive order. Deferred action is not amnesty. It does not provide lawful permanent residence or a path to a green card or citizenship. It does not extend to any family members of the person granted deferred action.
Individuals may request deferred action if they:
- Came to the United States before their 16th birthday
- Were under age 31 and had no valid immigration status on June 15, 2012
- Have continuously resided in the United States between June 15, 2007 and the present
- Are currently in school, graduated from high school, obtained a GED, or were honorably discharged from the Armed Forces
- Have not been convicted of a felony, a “significant” misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. Drunk driving is considered a significant misdemeanor that may cause Deferred Action to be denied unless the conviction is expunged or dismissed. The USCIS may consider granting applications from persons whose DUI convictions were expunged on a case by case basis
Requests for deferred action are only considered for immigrants who are 15 or older, unless they are currently in removal proceedings or have a final order of removal or voluntary departure.
Deferred Action is granted for an initial two-year period, after which recipients may request a renewal.
Individuals with deferred action may receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), that can be renewed after two years.
Individuals may request deferred action by submitting a series of forms and supporting documentation to USCIS proving eligibility. Evidence must be submitted proving entry into the U.S. before age 16, presence in the U.S. from June, 2007 to the present and proof of graduation from high school or current enrollment in school.
Individuals requesting deferred action must submit three forms:
- Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
- Form I-765WS, Form I-765 Worksheet
Deferred Action is an excellent means of obtaining temporary immigration status, work authorization and permission to travel outside the U.S. for emergency reasons. It provides millions of persons the ability to work law.