Deferred Action Renews Dream for Young Immigrants
On June 5th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced renewal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA grants temporary legal status to certain undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before they turned 16 years old. Individuals granted deferred action will not be subject to deportation for a two-year period, during which time they can continue to live and work and go to school in the U.S. without fear of detention or removal.
With the recent renewal of DACA, current Deferred Action holders can apply to renew their status for another two-year period, and the program will remain open to new applicants who qualify as well. Deferred Action is available to individuals who entered the U.S. before they were 16 and who meet the following requirements:
- Under 31 years old on June 15, 2012
- Residing continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 until the present time
- Physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
- Physically present in the U.S. at the time of request for Deferred Action
- Entered the U.S. without inspection before June 15, 2012 or had lawful immigration status which expired as of June 15, 2012
- Currently in school, graduated high school or obtained a certificate of completion or GED, or honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces or Coast Guard
- No felony or significant misdemeanor conviction, or no more than two misdemeanors total
- No threat to national security or public safety
Individuals must be at least 15 years old to apply for Deferred Action unless they are presently in removal proceedings or are under a final removal order of voluntary departure order and are not in immigration detention.
Deferred Action was first announced on June 15, 2012. It is estimated that around 1.7 million people are eligible for Deferred Action, although only 560,000 have been granted temporary legal status so far. According to a press release announcing the process for DACA renewal, individuals applying to renew Deferred Action should submit their request at least 120 days before the expiration of their current period of deferred action, in order to avoid a lapse in the period of deferral and employment authorization.