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In September 2017, President Trump ordered the end of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. However, on June 18th, 2020, the Supreme Court blocked this attempt with a 5-4 ruling. This ruling kept the program open and currently allows recipients to renew their membership, permitting them to work in the United States and protecting them from deportation. There are over 800,000 young adults who rely on DACA. Unfortunately, not many know exactly what it is. This article takes a closer look at this important program in the United States.
What Is DACA?
The DACA program was designed to shield individuals who were brought to the United States illegally, often at a young age and under circumstances beyond their control, from being deported. This program was issued under an executive order by President Barack Obama in 2012 after the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act failed to pass Congress. The individuals who are in the DACA program are often known as “Dreamers.”
The individuals who are under the DACA program identify themselves as Americans as they have grown up speaking English and have no memory or connection to where they were originally born. Unfortunately, these individuals also have no way to seek out legal residency or citizenship under current immigration laws.
DACA allows those who fall under its guidelines to apply for consideration for deferred action. In other words, no legal action may be taken against the recipients of DACA for two years, and this will be subject for renewal after that time period. Recipients are authorized to work in the United States for those two years and are protected from being deported. Individuals who are under the DACA program also have to pay $495 every two years to remain in the program.
Who Qualifies for DACA?
All DACA recipients must submit an application that states that they arrived in the United States before they were 16 years of age. They also must have lived in the United States since June 15th, 2007. Individuals who were over the age of 30 when this policy was enacted in 2012 are not eligible to apply.
DACA applicants also have to provide the following information when they apply:
- Proof they have been living in the United States since June 15th, 2007
- Proof of education in United States schools
- Confirmation of their identity
- Background checks
- Other biological checks to prove they are who they say they are
How Has DACA Helped?
Before DACA was enacted, many individuals who fell under the term “Dreamers” did not know they were illegal citizens of the United States. Many of them wouldn’t have found out until they applied for things that require a social security number, such as a driver’s license. Because of this, many individuals were not allowed to go to colleges, legally drive, or seek out employment.
Since the passing of DACA in 2017, 91% of DACA recipients are employed, 45% are currently attending schools, and 72% have gone on to receive their bachelor’s degree. 80% of recipients have gone on to earn their driver’s license.
The COVID-19 crisis has also revealed how many workers under DACA are essential. Many DACA recipients went on to be doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, child care providers, and first responders. Over 200,000 of the 800,000 recipients are currently considered essential workers in the United States.
Your Trusted Immigration Attorneys
At the Hernandez Law Group, our attorneys are passionate about helping people make the United States their home. Whether you are seeking a visa, green card, or are battling a deportation dispute, our team can help guide you through the complex legal processes. Contact our team for more information on our services or to schedule a consultation!