The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a policy that was initially established in 2012 by President Barack Obama to protect and support young undocumented immigrants who have arrived in the United States as minors. This policy protects around 800,000 young people knows as “Dreamers” and although the policy does not grant immigrant children official legal status in the United States, it does provide temporary protection from deportation and work/study authorization. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) distributes DACA in 2 years intervals, this means that every 2 years the recipient must re-apply and update their DACA status.
In recent news, the Trump administration tried to end and dismantle the DACA program. According to Boundless, “In July 2021, a federal judge ruled that first-time DACA applicants were barred from applying to the program. USCIS has confirmed that all individuals whose DACA requests were approved before July 16, 2021, will continue to have DACA status and all DACA requests that were approved before July 16 will continue to be eligible to renew DACA and DACA work permits.”
How do I know I am eligible for DACA?
- Applicants must meet the following criteria to apply for DACA:
- Are under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the U.S. while under the age of 16;
- Have continuously resided in the U.S. from June 15, 2007, to the present. (For purposes of calculating these five years, brief absences from the United States for humanitarian reasons will not be included);
- Entered the U.S. without inspection or fell out of lawful visa status before June 15, 2012;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of requesting consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or armed forces;
- Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor, or more than three misdemeanors of any kind; and
- Do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Applicants must provide proof of all legal documents as well as substantial evidence of the above criteria.