On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA that provides immigration relief to young immigrants who had arrived in the United States before the age of 16. For qualified youth, they are currently granted temporary permission to stay in the U.S. and authorization to work in the United States. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of Department of Homeland Security implements this program.
What is Deferred Action?
According to USCIS, “deferred action” is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action (deportation) against an individual for a certain period of time. The 2012 DACA program does not provide lawful status and is not a path to citizenship. The 2012 DACA program offers protection from deportation and work authorization for a period of two years, with the possibility of renewal for two years.
How does U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in U.S. v. Texas affect 2012 DACA?
The Court’s decision does not impact the 2012 DACA program. U.S. v. Texas is only about the expanded DACA program and new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program, or DAPA [insert the links to Ready4Relief’s pages on DACA+ and DAPA] program that were announced in 2014.
Below are the basic eligibility requirements:
- You came to the United States before your 16th birthday;
- You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- You have continuously lived in the United States since June 15, 2007 and were present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012;
- You were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time you apply for DACA;
- You had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- Meet ONE of the following requirements:
- Are currently enrolled in high school;
- Have obtained a general education development (GED) or high school equivalency (HSE) certificate;
- Are currently enrolled in a qualified adult education, technical, or vocational program (including certain ESOL classes;
- Or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and,
- Have no serious criminal history, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Here is a Pre-Screening Questionnaire that can help you determine whether you may be eligible for the 2012 DACA program:
Also, here is a Checklist that can help you gather documents to prove that you qualify for DACA:
DACA recipients may also apply for renewals when their 2-year term for deferred action is approaching the end. Here is a “calculator” to help you find out when you should send your renewal application to USCIS here.