What Is DACA?
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a policy that was announced June 15, 2012, by the secretary of Homeland Security. This policy provides that certain individuals who came to the United States as children, who meet certain guidelines (listed below) may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. DACA recipients are also eligible for work authorization. With few exceptions, a first-time DACA recipient had to meet the following guidelines:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.
- Came to the United States before reaching their 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 June 15, 2012, and at the time of making the request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS.
- Had no lawful status June 15, 2012.
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a GED certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.
- 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.
The Current Status of DACA
The USCIS is no longer accepting initial requests for DACA, but will adjudicate initial requests for DACA accepted by Sept. 5, 2017. Currently, only renewal requests received by Oct. 5, 2017, from current beneficiaries whose benefits will expire between Sept. 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018 will be adjudicated.
Per Attorney General Sessions’s letter and announcement, “In light of the costs and burdens that will be imposed on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) associated with rescinding this policy, DHS should consider an orderly and efficient wind-down process.”
The Future of DACA
Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security:
- Will adjudicate – on an individual, case-by-case basis – properly filed pending DACA initial requests and associated applications for employment authorization documents that have been accepted as of the date of this memorandum.
- Will reject all DACA initial requests and associated applications for employment authorization documents filed after the date of this memorandum.
- Will adjudicate – on an individual, case-by-case basis – properly filed pending DACA renewal requests and associated applications for employment authorization documents from current beneficiaries that have been accepted as of the date of this memorandum, and from current beneficiaries whose benefits will expire between the date of this memorandum and March 5, 2018, that have been accepted as of Oct. 5, 2017.
- Will reject all DACA renewal requests and associated applications for employment authorizaretion documents filed outside of the parameters specified above.
- Will continue to exercise its discretionary authority to terminate or deny deferred action for any reason, at any time, with or without notice.
The federal government will announce any future changes to this policy, or/and Congress will announce any actions on immigration reform.